Collectors, traders and novices all pursue antique estate jewelry for its beauty and individuality. Before the days of modern mining and cutting machinery, gemstones and metal were handled much differently. This resulted in finished jewelry that reflected the unique contributions of those who created them, rather than the perfectly machined pieces of today. The singular personality of these mostly hand-crafted works of art is recognized by experts the world over.
Much of the antique jewelry on the market today was made during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This jewelry is characterized by delicate settings of gold or silver for earlier pieces and platinum and filigree for later ones. Gemstones, especially diamonds, create a focal point and contrast. Diamonds were often combined with smaller accent stones such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds or natural pearls. It is also common to find bracelets, earrings or rings set with one or more old-cut diamonds in a cluster fashion.
For the individual or trader considering estate versus modern jewelry, the selection is varied but not without limits. The constraints of these historical periods, such as a more primitive technology and the scarcity of stones or metals, play a part in what buyers see today. For instance, antique diamonds above I-J in color or fancy-colored diamonds are extremely rare and are tenaciously held by modern collectors.
A respected source that specializes in antique and estate merchandise will offer pieces with the original or restored stones and settings. The estate collection at Single Stone can be viewed online or in its Los Angeles and San Marino showrooms.