The Arts and Crafts movement began in the UK and flourished in North America and Europe (where is was known as "Jugenstil") between 1880 and 1910. The jewelry designs produced within the movement were focused on fine craftsmanship and simple forms, as well as easily accessible and affordable materials i.e. silver rather than gold, semiprecious stones rather than precious gems. The Arts and Crafts style was both reactionary and visionary - the movement developed in part as a response to the ornate styles and conspicuous consumption of the Victorian era, but on the flip side, the decorative arts produced during this period influenced design for decades, arguably inspiring the designers of De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and eventually Modernism. This Jugenstijl collar is made in coin silver with orthoclase moonstone cabochons of ever-so-slightly graduated size.
EDWARDIAN (1900 - 1910)
The Edwardian era gets its name from King Edward VII’s brief reign at the beginning of the 20th century. His Danish bride Alexandra was young, lovely, and fashionable; with a taste for trendy pieces rendered in diamonds and pearls. The jewelry tended toward airy lightness, often in the form of lacy filigree. The world was changing rapidly, but lots of the jewelry still reflected the Victorian ideals of decorum and femininity. Ancient Roman and Greek influences remained popular.
“White” jewelry became popular as plentiful deposits of platinum were discovered in Russia and improved smelting technology made it possible for jewelers to work in the noble metal. Platinum was seldom used by jewelers in earlier years owing both to its scarcity and high melting point. The jewelry trade took advantage of its rigid strength to create opulent openwork settings for increasingly brilliant diamonds. The old European cut was perfected, rounder and squatter than old mine. This took stone-cutting one step closer to the mathematically perfect round brilliant cut, which is the most popular diamond cut today. The now-iconic square Asscher cut was patented in 1902.
Hot on the heels of platinum, the alloy mixture that produces white gold was formulated and patented in 1915 in New York City. With Europe in the grip of WW1, the American jewelry industry was poised to become a world leader and innovator.