It has been said that after a ladies engagement ring, earrings are probably the most important piece of Jewelry a woman can purchase, as it frames her face. When you meet someone, or speak to someone, the first thing they will probably notice as they talk to you is your earrings.
There is indeed something magical about earrings, which is not matched by any other kind of antique or contemporary jewelry. Especially if they are antique drop earrings, uniquely, they move with a life of their own, voluptuous but pure, cold yet provocative, most men prefer to see a lady wearing antique drop earrings, as opposed to the vintage diamond stud earrings which most women seem to be wearing today.
Antique earrings are also timeless, their are carvings of earrings, which ancient civilizations placed on the statues of their goddesses, even dating back to pre-historic times..
However for the purposes of this blog, we are going to look at antique earrings from the beginning of the 20th Century. The design of these estate period earrings were dictated to by the fashions of the time, which had not changed drastically from the latter part of the 19th Century antique period.
Cluster and small pendant antique earrings were the popular choice of this time period. The few vintage drop earrings produced were of moderate size and in 'garland' style, commonly mounted with diamonds in a millegrain setting, that is a setting where the gold or platinum goes completely around the gemstone, rather that a prong setting. Typical antique earrings in this style were the pear shaped drop, with a colored gemstone or diamond briolette, mounted as a swing center within a cluster of small delicate floral motif's on a ribbon bow surmount. Other fashionable antique earrings assumed the form of diamond or colored gemstone brilolettes on fine articulated chains inset with diamonds.
The early 1900's pre-war years, they had discovered platinum, a white untarnishable precious metal which was heavy, hard to work and difficult to solder, but of great structural strength so that only a little was required to produce a sturdy mount. They had always found, and this was in all antique pieces not just vintage earrings, that diamonds looked better in a white metal, as opposed to yellow gold which could detract from the brightness of the diamond; Platinum took over from Silver which had been previously used. They found that the silver in antique pieces, over a time oxidized, giving the piece a 'mat patina' whereas the platinum always stayed bright.Around 1915 there was a discernible change in the design of antique earrings from the garland type to and elongated baton-shaped motif, in a longer form, very often supporting a drop, which very often was a pearl or a different cut of diamond.
Also during this antique period, the emphasis in fashion was on straight, vertical lines, which were counterbalanced by long sautoirs, and long pendant antique earrings.. This period is an example in antique earrings, where old and new features co-existed in the same piece of vintage jewelry.
Another interesting point from this antique period, especially in these modern times where one of the main words heard on the news is 'liberation'. Is the development of screw fittings on antique earrings to clamp the earring to the ear lobe. This fitting had been originally developed in the late 1800's, but was becoming more and more popular in the early 1900's. It's advantage over traditional types of fitting, was that it avoided the necessity of piercing the ear lobe, a practice which had begun to be regarded as barbaric. This was symptomatic of the general move towards liberating women from traditional constraints, exemplified in the field of fashion by the rejection of harmful items of clothing like the tightly laced corsets, and in social and political life by the movement to establish votes for women.
At our shop Beverley R Jewelry, in Chicago, Illinois, we have a large selection of one of a kind antique earrings. From the earring that sits on the ear for every day wear, to the drop earrings which would be worn for the dinner or black tie formal occasions. And for the busy woman, who has to go straight from work to a function, we have our special 'day and night' antique earrings; that is earrings which are not to ostentatious to be worn during the day, but make a statement, and stand out for the special occasions
Our professional staff, are confident of finding that unique pair of antique earring that will frame your face perfectly. We carry a large selection of antique, vintage and estate earrings from the early 1800's thru to the 1950's, and we are sure that we have that special pair just for you.
1/ Screw fitment for non-pierced ears.
2/ Edwardian platinum on gold, moonstone & diamond drop earrings, signed Tiffany, Circa 1910
3/ Edwardian platinum linear, lattice diamond earrings, Colette set. Circa 1915
4/ Victorian Silver on Gold, diamond drop earrings, with cluster suspended from a bow drop. Circa 1890
5/ Edwardian, Platinum & Diamond drop earrings, cascade setting. Circa 1915