The Edwardian period, from 1901 to 1910, and usually stretching to the start of WWI, was an elegant period. It encompassed parts of the Belle Epoque, Arts and Craft, and Art Deco movements but also had its own jewellery style, epitomised by luxury and wealth at one end and simple, mass-produced affordable jewellery at the one end. It was a period of innovation, emerging from the somewhat stagnant last decades of the Victorian era. Both the Belle Epoque and Arts and Crafts movements had commenced in the late 19th century but were still strong influences, with an emphasis on pearls and moonstones and organic materials.
The ring below is a classic example of the beautiful Edwardian style. Diamonds and pearls are set in platinum and gold, with a soft flowing design.
Marquise and navette rings remained popular, as illustrated by the emerald and diamond ring below. Diamonds were used extensively. They either featured as the main stone or were used to highlight other gems, as seen in the sapphire ring at the top of the post.
Moving away from diamonds and gemstones, gold was still a popular material. One example of an Edwardian gold ring is the one below, a form of ‘keeper’ ring which were often given as a betrothal or engagement ring. They could be quite thick rings. Some of these rings were comprised of complex braids or knots, others, like the one below, had romantic flowers and bands. One strand has tiny engraved flowers, forget-me-nots, while the other two strands are heart shaped leaves. The three strands of the braid then join together to form the band of the ring. Very romantic!
Mourning obligations had reduced towards the end of the Victorian era. The use of hair in mourning jewellery had ceased. There are still a few mourning rings to be found though. The one in the photo below is simple – a black enamel band with a pearl set within a gold star.