Jewelry is everywhere, advertised on TV, magazines and billboards. In many of those advertisements the jewelry is as typical and mainstream as the most recent Billboard hit. It lacks authenticity and character, something that should be innate in your jewelry. Jewelry is a form of self expression and one should be adorned with something that is as unique as they are. It should not be massed produced by a machine but hand crafted and individual. Antique jewelry fits this style. Many of the pieces were handcrafted before the era of machines and so each piece is unique. The pieces are always made well because they have stood the test of time and each comes with its own history and with you, a new future.There are many different styles of antique jewelry, the first to look into is Victorian jewelry. There are three types of Victorian jewelry, Early Victorian, Mid-Victorian and Late Victorian though most jewelers lump them together under the one category. Early Victorian (1837 – 1855) is often inspired by nature designs which would be delicately and intricately etched into gold. Brooches and lockets were the generally the popular pieces of the time often different colored gem stones. Mid-Victorian (1856-1880) corresponds with a time of sorrow as Queen Elisabeth’s husband had died. The designs are known to be solemn and grave to be intune with mourning. The pieces are adorned with heavy, dark stones though they were also considered more creative than the previous Victorian style as they would often feature shells and mosaics. Late Victorian (1885-1900) jewelry is also known as the Aesthetic period featuring feminine designs jeweled with diamonds and bright gemstones. Star and crescent designs were popular during this time.The next style to look into is Nouveau. Nouveau jewelry (1895-1915) is jewelry that features natural designs such as flowers and butterflies. The jewelry often is curved and naturalistic in design and attempts to accentuate the curves of a woman. Nouveau jewelry is often considered the most romantic of all jewelry styles. Sadly it saw it’s decline with mass production of enameled created jewelry though recently it has become a popular form again with vintage jewelry designs and collectors.After the Nouveau period Art Deco jewelry become the popular form of art. Art Deco jewelry (1915 – 1935) is often characterized by a stiff but very stylized design. The style is named after 1925 L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris, France. It is inspired by many different cultures including American Indian art, ancient Egyptian art and Greek and Roman architecture. Cubism and Dadaism also influenced Art Deco. The greatest influence came from the unearthing of King Tut’s tomb and the following world tour in the 1970’s. Many of the relics found inside are said to be the inspiration of many jewelers of the time.Antique Jewelry is more than just an adornment that you wear, it is small piece of history with character unmatched by all mass produced jewelry. It is unique and hand made. Check out your local antique dealers at their shops or online and you will be certain to find something that is not only beautiful but also individual. Antique and estate jewelry is more than just jewelry, it’s an expression of yourself.
So much beautiful mass-produced jewelry exists, and it can create wonderful accessory pieces for both the bride and bridesmaids. Since this production jewelry is so available, why would a bride opt for artisan jewelry for her wedding party?Artisan jewelry is jewelry designed and created by the artisan. Artisan jewelry can be can be either fine jewelry made with precious metals and precious stones or bridge jewelry made of semi-precious stones and semi-precious metals such as sterling silver and gold-filled wire. Each piece is either one-of-a kind or limited edition. The jewelry can be created just for the bride or for the entire wedding party.A bride spends a lot of time planning every phase of wedding and gives infinite attention to detail with the gown. Jewelry is essential to the entire presentation and should enhance, but not overpower the gown. Uniquely designed artisan jewelry will give the bride a unique opportunity to present herself and her wedding party beautifully. The artisan can create jewelry to match the colors and theme of the wedding and the gowns and hairstyles of those in the wedding party.When you meet with your jewelry artisan, take pictures of your gown and the gowns of your attendants. You will also need some samples of your colors. It is also a good idea to give the jewelry artisan an idea of the size and coloring of each person who will be wearing the jewelry. You will also need a description of the hairstyles that will be worn by the members of the wedding party.The jewelry can be custom made for each individual with unique shapes and colors, with an eye to later wear ability. The entire ensemble of jewelry worn in the wedding can be well coordinated so each person has something unique but not clashing with the other members of the wedding party.To be sure that you and your jewelry artisan are both envisioning the same thing, you may want to ask for some sketches of the planned jewelry before you proceed. You will probably have to pay for this because design and sketching are a huge part of the job and your artisan will have spent a good bit of time working on your behalf.In choosing the materials to be used in the jewelry, you will want to consider the individuals and the clothing they will be wearing, but you will also want to plan the jewelry to look best with the lighting you are using in the wedding. If it is a candle light wedding, you might find crystal to be the perfect accessory, as it will reflect the flickering light from the candles.Crystals come in dozens of colors and some are subtle enough so that each piece of jewelry can be a little bit different from the others and blend. A bridesmaid with blonde hair and blue eyes might look best in the palest of blue crystals while your red haired bride’s maid would look wonderful in the light peach crystal.If your wedding is in natural daylight, freshwater pearls will be a beautiful choice. These can be accented with crystals for a little sparkle. Freshwater pearls come in a subtle range of colors that can be matched to the coloring of your attendants.Just as a general guideline, you really need only one piece of statement jewelry; the other pieces can accessorize that piece. If you have huge earrings, your necklace should be simpler and if you have a large cuff bracelet, you probably don’t want a heavy necklace. Sets of two pieces are nice and you might even get away with three matching pieces, but matching earrings, necklace, bracelet, ring and tiara is just a little too much. Working with common techniques and materials should help the pieces coordinate nicely.If you are wearing your hair down, you will want a larger earring. Hoops are usually a little too casual for such an event, but a stylish pair of chandelier earrings will look beautiful. If you are wearing your hair up, you might plan for a smaller earring, but still have a bit of a dangle so it will have movement. If your hair is worn up and you have a small earring, you may want to use a larger necklace if the neckline of your dress will accommodate it. Your jewelry artisan can create a tiara to suit your hairstyle and also to hold your chosen veil.Consider the neckline and sleeve of your dress. If the dress has a high neck, you would more ornate earrings with maybe a fine chain with a small pearl pendant on it or if the dress has a V-neck or square neck, you can use a heavier necklace. If the dress has long sleeves, a wide bracelet isn’t your best choice, but if you have short sleeves or your gown is sleeveless, you might want to wear either a wide cuff bracelet or a series of fine pearl and chain or crystal and chain bracelets together on one arm. If your dress is simple, your jewelry can be more ornate, but if your dress is beaded, ruffled or heavily textured, you may want to use jewelry with a cleaner line.You will see your wedding jewelry in the pictures for years to come. These pieces become keepsakes in the family and can be passed down through the generations. Choose these pieces with consideration toward the tradition you are setting and the timelessness that the jewelry symbolizes.