Antique and period jewelry originated in a time or period to complement the fashion that dictated the form of the time. When necklines plunged, necklaces appeared in abundance. Earrings were most fashionable when hair designs revealed the ear.
Along with fashion trends, construction techniques depend on the skill of artisans making jewelry from the materials invented or available. For example, white gold is a twentieth century invention.
Jewelry tells a story about its origin long after the oral tradition wanes. The gem appraiser discerns characteristics to identify and date an object. In the absence of hallmarks, trademarks or other identifying information, date conclusions come from three factors:
- An understanding of fashion trends
- Awareness of the characteristics of style
- Knowledge of materials and construction techniques
Modern jewelry originated after 1920 using modern techniques and materials. This jewelry includes a wide range of pieces created by designers and sold to the elite. Art Deco jewelry is the finest example of workmanship blended with the finest materials in symmetrical design.