Collecting antique jewelry can be an exciting way to track the world's history through gemstones. Antique items are typically classified according to the time period in which they were produced. Jewelry created during the Georgian Era is the most difficult to track down, since many of these pieces were taken apart or modified in later years.
Here are three simple characteristics you can be looking for as you scour the collector's market for authentic Georgian jewelry in the future.
1. Gold-Backed Silver
The discovery of major gold deposits throughout the world would not occur until many years after the Georgian period came to a close in 1830. The scarcity of gold made this material extremely expensive, so the use of pure gold in jewelry making was unheard of.
Instead, jewelers would set stones in silver, then apply a thin gold backing to prevent the silver from tarnishing. Looking for this gold backing is a great way to identify authentic Georgian jewelry items.
2. Foil-Backed Stones
Jewelry makers during the Georgian period didn't have a working knowledge of the optical properties of gemstones. Today's gem cutters work hard to maximize sparkle by faceting stones to reveal optical character, birefringence, and pleochroism, which are all internal optical properties.
Georgian jewelers often relied on a foil backing placed behind roughly cut stones to create the brilliance and sparkle they desired. By checking for a foil backing behind set stones, you can more easily identify authentic pieces of Georgian jewelry in the future.
3. Rose-Cut Gems
Because of the limited knowledge, skill, and access to tools gemologists faced during the Georgian period, the precious stones used in jewelry items from this time period were often finished into rose-cut gems. A rose-cut gem features a flat bottom, which allows a larger surface area to reflect the brilliance of the roughly cut stone.
If you look at a stone and notice that it is cut to try and mimic the narrow spirals found in rose petals, then you are likely looking at a rose-cut stone. Jewelry items from the Georgian area will often feature rose-cut gemstones, so learning to spot this antiquated cut can be beneficial when trying to date jewelry items available on the market.
Investing in antique jewelry from the Georgian period can be exciting, but only if you know you are purchasing an authentic piece. Avoid the purchase of an imposter by looking for gold-plated silver, foil-backed stones, and rose-cut gems to ensure your Georgian jewelry is real. Begin your search for Georgian period jewelry through estate jewelry in Riverside, CA.