The end of World War 1 marked a new beginning for jewelers in America. Wartime controversy had given free publicity to the Estate Jewelry industry, and prompted people to buy platinum vintage jewelry, hoping that the dwindling supply of the metal would increase its value. In 1919 the business year for estate jewelers opened profitably; anyone who was anyone was busy ordering vintage jewelry for what promised to be a magnificent business year for the industry. Notable New York antique jewelry firms such as Cartier, Dreicer & Co. and Tiffany back then were using the Metropolitan Opera as a showcase, working on their estate jewelry creations right up to the opening night for both the stars in the audience as well as those on stage. Now of course the Vintage Jewelry showcasing is done much more at the Oscars and Grammy awards.
1/ Platinum on Gold, Diamond Set Navette Ring Circa 1910
Estate Jewelry was opulent and lavish at this period, harking back to an earlier mode; as the editor of Vogue, Jessica Daves, noted that fashionable photographs of Mrs. Astor in 1910 and 1918 were very much alike , even including her vintage jewelry. very often when the American estate jewelry industry needed fresh inspiration to win a new generation of patrons, the vintage jewelers looked to foreign sources, European Crown Jewels, plique-a-jour enamel, Ancient Chinese art or the Cubist painters of the 1913 Armory show in New York.
This period in the early 1900's was known as the Reconstruction era; American estate jewelry workshops had been growing in number and were capable of supplying retail vintage jewelers all over the country with well made antique jewelry pieces. The stumbling block was design. And in the 1920's, the start of the Art Deco period, American vintage jewelry had to sustain the interest of a large number of new clientele who had become world travelers and were buying a lot of their vintage jewelry from Europe.
2/ Platinum Cabochon Sapphire & Diamond Cluster Ring. Circa 1920
Many American Estate jewelers opened branch offices throughout the States and Europe to take advantage of this new international movement.
An example of the internationality of vintage jewelers in the early 1900's was provided by the French Jeweler Arnold Ostertag, who went to New York, then moved on to Los Angeles for two months, then moved to Florida before returning to Cannes via Paris.
3/ Platinum & Diamond Double Clip Brooch. Circa 1935
Antique jewelry designers looked in many places for their inspiration. The Metropolitan museum of Art had been holding many exhibitions of art from different periods, but what seemed to attract the public were the exhibitions featuring architecture. Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in the fall of 1922 at Luxor in Egypt. These great excavations became news worldwide, and news makes fashion. Ancient jewelry designs were immediately copied by the vintage jewelers of the period; influencing everything from estate line bracelets to vanity cases. Border motifs were taken from ancient civilizations and translated and transformed by precious and semi-precious gemstones, and into enamel work. In some cases pictorial images and hieroglyphics were depicted in specially cut gemstones.
4/ Platinum, Cobalt Blue Enamel & Diamond Pendant. Circa 1900
In April 1923 Vogue proclaimed "The Mode Has a Rendezvous by the Nile". The 1920's woman saw herself mirrored in the tomb paintings of Thebes: like her Egyptian Sisters, she was tall and slender; she wore pleated skirts, sandals with straps, and Egyptian Styles Antique Jewelry.
5/ Platinum & Diamond Pendant with Calibre Emeralds. Circa 1915
American antique jewelers were continuing to search for a distinctly American estate style; but the American Government unlike their European counterparts did not support the Arts nor luxury trades. When an invitation to participate in the 1925 exhibition arrived Herbet Hoover, the American Secretary of Commerce, declined after he had conferred with various heads of industry. Hoover stated' "they did not consider that we could contribute sufficiently varied design of unique character or of special expression in American artistry to warrant such a participation.'
6/ Platinum & Diamond Bracelet signed Oscar Hyman Circa 1920
Consequently American Estate jewelers requested the formation of a commission. Walter P. McTeigue of the New York Jewelry Crafts Association commented on the scale and work of American vintage jewelry. Jewelry exhibits from the United States were not of the richness and beauty of the European pieces. Perhaps the most notable feature about the Vintage Jewelry from Europe was the considerable number of large pieces in the form f brooches, pendants drops and that contained very few precious stones, but gained their effect through semi precious materials such as black onyx, coral turquoise matrix and enamels.
7/ Platinum, Natural Pearl & Diamond Pendant. Circa 1925 (Use in Heading)
There was also in 1925 a blending of geometrical and archeological motifs in the estate jewelry of the period. Color was part of the designs of antique jewelry too, with multi colored enamels and the use of semi-precious stones, like Lapis Lazuli, Jade, Coral, Onyx, Moonstone and Amethyst.
8/ Platinum, Sapphire & Diamond Line Bracelet. Circa 1930
When you visit Beverley R Antique Jewelry in Downtown Chicago, it's like travelling back in time, and going to past eras. Beverley R Antique Jewelry has some of the finest pieces of antique, vintage and estate jewelry in the Mid-West, all of unique design, impeccable taste and vary wearable. We only carry original pieces from the time, and have very knowledgeable staff who know the history of the different periods. So if you want fine quality antique jewelry, that will make you the envy of, and stand out from all your friends, then come to Beverly R Jewelry, they have 'Simply the Best!'