As a refresher, I would like to go through the different periods of Antique Jewelry, with pictures of the different styles, which can be found at Beverley R Antique Jewelry here in Chicago.
1/ Victorian cluster ring with a Cushion cut diamond center, and old mine cut diamond surround, circa 1880.Georgian Jewelry. from 1800-1835This is the latter part of the Georgian period, and here in Chicago we have just purchased a fine antique Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring. The Rose Cut was one of the earliest cuts of diamond; it consisted of twenty four triangles, and normally came up to a slightly pyramidal point. These antique cuts of diamond had to all be done by hand, as they did not have the diamond saws or lasers, that they use to cut the modern stones. Basically the Georgian Jewelers' had a wooden mallet and a thin iron bar called a 'scaife'. Diamonds are the hardest subject known to man, and I apologize for being technical here, but it is a directional hardness, along cleavage planes.The Georgian jeweler used to study the diamond to find where these cleavage planes were; make a little 'nick' with another diamond at the join, put the iron bar on the 'nick' and hit it with the wooden mallet. If all went well the diamond would cleave along a straight line; however if things went wrong the whole stone would shatter.Antique Rose Cut diamonds were cut before electric lights were in existence, and were cut to come 'to life' in natural light, and candle light, and have a softer glow, as compared to the harsh glare of many of the modern cuts. Many of these antique cuts had a foil backing to help in reflecting lightPictured are two examples of Antique Georgian Rose Cut Diamond rings, that can be found here in Chicago, one is a large Rose Diamond cluster, the other is an antique ring, with the Rose Diamonds set in a flower design.2/ Rose Cut Diamond Cluster Ring, circa 1825Antique Victorian Jewelry 1836-1901Queen Victoria until very recently was the longest reigning monarch, she has just been overtaken by Queen Elizabeth. But throughout this period the two most popular styles for antique engagement rings were 'band' style rings going across the finger, and the cluster, where a central larger stone had smaller stones going around the circumference. The surrounding stones were used to highlight the center stone, and in the case where the antique cluster ring was all diamond the idea was that from a distance the ring was meant to look like one very big stone. Towards the later part of the Victorian period the antique band rings started to have scroll work carving in the gallery and were known as Victorian Half Hoop engagement rings.The main cuts from this time period for diamonds being used in these antique engagement rings were the 'Old Mine Cut' and the 'Cushion Cut' these stones had smaller facets, and were deeper than many of the modern cuts of diamonds, to again give a greater shine in softer light. Pictured are the different styles of band rings, and also a cluster ring from the Victorian period, which can be found at Beverley R Antique Jewelry, Chicago.3/ Old Mine Cut Diamond Band Ring Set in silver on gold, circa 18654/ Old Mine Cut Diamond Half Hoop Ring, circa 1880
5/ Hand Engraved gallery of a Half Hoop ringAntique Edwardian Jewelry 1901-1915King Edward was not on the throne for very long, and the styles did not change much for Edwardian antique engagement rings.However along with band and cluster engagement rings they did start to use single stones in engagement rings. The biggest changes in Edwardian Engagement rings were mainly two fold. Firstly the metal they were set in. Platinum had now been discovered, and they found diamonds shone much more brightly when set in a white metal. In earlier antique periods very often mounts were made of yellow gold, and then coated with a silver top before the diamonds were set. The problem with silver was that unless it was continuously cleaned the silver oxidized (turned a charcoal color), whereas platinum did not; so platinum tops were now substituted for silver tops.The second main change in antique Edwardian Engagement rings was the cuts of the stones Mathematicians and Physicists worked out the dimensions and number of facets to give maximum light reflection reflection to diamonds, not just an external/ surface reflection, but also an internal reflection of any light that went through the surface of the stone, would be 'bounced' off the back facets and still be reflected out of the diamond. These cuts of diamonds were known as 'transitional' or 'Eppler' cuts.Pictured at our Chicago store Is an Edwardian Cluster and Single stone platinum topped engagement rings.6/ Platinum on Gold the original 'Moi et Toi' engagement ring