Antique Necklaces

Antique Necklaces

Necklaces have always been among the most important jewelry pieces worn by mankind. Some of the earliest necklaces known to exist were made of drilled ostrich egg shell beads, dating back some 40,000 years.

antique necklaces can vary in value depending on era, condition, and style. Learning the terms used to describe specific necklace styles can help you understand what you’re looking at when shopping for vintage pieces.

Pendant Necklaces

Historically pendants were worn by the upper classes to display their wealth. They were often engraved with biblical scenes or emblems and hung from hefty gold chain necklaces. Men wore more elaborate necklaces than women and were often presented with thick chains by their wives to demonstrate their loyalty.

In the Art Nouveau period designs were inspired by natural motifs like flowers, dragonflies and peacocks. Pendants also featured forget me not engravings and a glass back compartment to hold mementos.

Today necklaces are not only a symbol of status but have become an essential piece of jewelry that can enhance a woman’s beauty. Prather Beeland carries a wide selection of antique and vintage pendants from the most elegant eras. Our team can help you find the perfect design to match your gown.

Riviere Necklaces

A riviere necklace is composed of links of a single type of gemstone, often either all the same size or that progress in a smooth gradient towards the center. Rivieres have been a popular choice since the early 18th century, and you’ll see many designs that echo this elegant style even today.

You can find a wide variety of vintage and modern riviere necklaces at 1stDibs, including examples that feature diamonds as well as crystals or zirconias. These classic pieces pair wonderfully with strapless dresses, like the one worn by Rita Hayworth in 1946’s Gilda.

Victorian Necklaces

Victorian jewellery is characterised by a wide variety of styles and fashions. It can be divided into three distinct periods: the Romantic Period, the Grand Period and the Aesthetic Period. Each of these sub-periods favoured different motifs, materials and fabrication techniques.

Following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert, Queen Victoria went into a long period of mourning and black Victorian jewellery became en vogue. Mourning rings, lockets and brooches were crafted from dark materials such as jet (a form of fossilized coal), lava, black onyx and tortoiseshell with carved shell cameos depicting ancient Egyptian, Etruscan or Renaissance motifs.

The Victorian era was also marked by a taste for the past and jewellery was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelitism movement which exalted Medieval art. Intricate filigree, micromosaics and pietra dura were fashionable as well as antique techniques like cloisonné and enamel.

Art Nouveau Necklaces

Art Nouveau is a style of jewelry that embraces natural forms and expert techniques. The style’s emphasis on craftsmanship and artistic expression elevated simple gemstone pieces to miniature works of art.

Designs featured intricate depictions of plants and animals with a sensual tone. Dragonflies, cicadas, beetles, and grasshoppers were reimagined with flowing wings and luminous hues. Slithering snakes became symbols of life and eternity. Even swans and peacock feathers made an appearance.

Using innovative materials such as glass, horn, ivory, and gallith, artists brought these motifs to life in a variety of ways. One such technique, plique-a-jour enamelling, encapsulated enamel in a frame without a backing, creating a translucent effect that imitated stained glass. This delicate coloring added to the organic feel of Art Nouveau pieces.

Edwardian Necklaces

The Edwardian era saw the popularity of delicate and symmetrical jewellery. These pieces often featured diamonds and pearls in a white metal. This era is also known for intricate filigree and milgrain work. These techniques create a lacey effect on the jewelry and require extreme attention to detail.

Edwardian necklaces were worn with blouses that were slightly more revealing than those of the Victorian Era. Popular styles include sautoirs and long pearl rope chains that dangle down to the waistline.

Vintage Edwardian lockets are also popular and make excellent gifts for loved ones who have passed away. These droopy necklaces can look beautiful when paired with a strapless dress or blouse.

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