When one thinks of antique Art Deco jewelry, one firstly thinks of Platinum and Diamonds. In the early 1900's as Americans grew more wealthy, diamond jewelry again became very popular; and with the resolution of the political situation in S. Africa, then the biggest producer of diamonds, an all diamond style - whiter than ever before - emerged. This new whiteness in antique Art Deco jewelry was the result of the use of platinum, which is a practically unoxidizable material, unlike silver which had been previously used.
1/ Art Deco Platinum & Diamond Bracelet
This mating of diamonds and platinum in the antique jewelry of the early 1900's was revolutionary; each material enhanced the unique properties of the other. And many would argue this style in antique and vintage jewelry has been the twentieth century's most significant contribution to the history of jewelry. Previously in early antique jewelry mounts had been made of gold, and then a silver top was applied before diamonds were set, but over a time silver started to turn a charcoal color due to oxidization. In the early Edwardian jewelry they replaced the silver with platinum; but it was not until about 1915 that vintage jewelry pieces were made entirely of Platinum. The reason for this was that it was very difficult to melt or fuse platinum, with the heating sources available at this time period. Platinum has a melting point of 3217 F, and Gold is only 1945 F.
2/ Edwardian Platinum, Diamond & Carved Chalcedony Pansy Brooch Circa 1915
The most popular vintage jewelry pieces from the early 1900's in this new 'platinum' style were dog collars, latticework bodice ornaments, and lavalieres (named after Duchess Louise de la Valliere, one of the favorites of Louis XV) The source of these vintage jewelry designs came from the English, French and Spanish Court dress of earlier centuries. These first pieces of platinum antique jewelry were composed predominantly of small diamonds, and very often the designs were highlighted with calibre-cut sapphires, rubies and emeralds. At Beverley R Jewelry in downtown Chicago, we have a large selection of early vintage jewelry from the early 1900's both set with just diamonds, or diamonds with calibre cut gemstones. Our pieces covers the range from fine dress rings, vintage engagement rings, brooches, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. At Beverley R Jewelry our fine pieces of antique jewelry cover the whole gamut from pieces that can be worn each and every day, both day and night or that special piece for that very special occasion. And it has been said that for estate engagement rings we have one of the largest selections of high quality, unique and original Antique, Vintage and Art Deco engagement rings in Illinois.
3/ Platinum & Diamond Fringe drop necklace. Circa 1915
In the USA in the early part of the Twentieth century. a demand for great art and magnificent estate jewelry developed simultaneously. And the trend for antique jewelry connoisseurs had turned to the extravagant. An example of this was the American heiress Helen Gould on her marriage received a gift (described in the February 1913, Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review) was an antique jewelry piece of a diamond bow knot 12 inches wide with diamond ribbons 1 inch thick.
4/ Art Deco Platinum & fancy cut Diamond ring with calibre onyx & emeralds
For Estate jewelry from this time period, as with earlier antique jewelry pieces, French Jewelers were generally considered the best, and Americans traveling abroad accounted for half of these antique jewelers income. The collection of duty on estate jewelry pieces was to say the least erratic and very hard to enforce. It was difficult for officials to distinguish from new purchase of estate jewelry pieces to prior possessions. So consequently the smuggling of Antique jewelry grew; some of it innocent; some of it quite devious. This Vintage period, 1900 - 1920 has been called The Golden Age of Smuggling in America.'
5/ Art Deco Platinum & Marquise Diamond Ring with calibre Emeralds
World War 1 forced the antique jewelry industry into a minor decline, due to the problem of obtaining platinum. Platinum was a catalyzing agent in many chemical processes necessary for the war effort. The attitude of America's antique jewelers during World War 1 is characterized by the following quotation from an advertising circular of the period: 'If you intend to be in business when the war is over, you must stay in business while the war is going on. As a merchant and businessman, you must 'carry on' actively, aggressively.' When the restrictions were lifted in November 1918, Christmas sales soared.
6/ Platinum & Diamond Pendant with calibre Rubies Circa 1910
This early part of the the Twentieth Century the Antique Jewelry trade was being run less and less as small businesses, and was now being run by major operations, Vintage jewelry had now entered into the realms of 'Big Business'. Vintage jewelry from this time period was lavish, harking back to earlier periods. As Vogue said that the pictures of Mrs. Astor in 1900 and 1918 were very much alike in her style of clothes and antique jewelry.
7/ Platinum & Diamond 'Lavaliere' Pendant Circa 1920
In the USA the most famous of US antique jewelers was Tiffany & Co., but also well known to antique jewel dealers is Dreicer & Co., Inc. Raymond C. Yard, Inc., Black Star and Frost, Marcus & Co., E. M. Gattle and of course in Chicago there was C. D. Peacock.. Also many European Antique jewelry retailers started opening shops in America, Cartier opened its fine antique jewelry shop on Fifth Avenue and Fifty Second Street.
8/ Platinum & Diamond, Lattice work earrings Circa 1915
Here at the antique jewelry store Beverley R Jewelry in Chicago, we have a large selection of signed jewelry, from the early 1900's, along with many other fine quality pieces. We have over 100 original from the time period antique and vintage engagement rings waiting for young couples to come in for that special time in their lives when they are ready to commit their futures together. Our engagement rings are all original, hand made and one of a kind, for the couple who wants to have that one of a kind engagement ring that no one else has. And also as we live in a much more ethically conscious age, the old cut diamond engagement rings, are before the use of the blood diamonds, that have been used to sponsor terrorist activities,
But at Beverley R Antique Jewelry, we are not here for the one of sale, we have a large selection of Vintage jewelry from antique bracelets to brooches, and vintage pendants to necklaces, and along with our Art Deco engagement rings, a large selection of Platinum dress rings, to cover all the special occasions in life.