The Edwardian era began with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. She was succeeded by Edward VII and his stylish Danish wife, Queen Alexandria. She set the standard in fashion and jewellery, with society modelling themselves on her. The Edwardian designs were intricate, delicate, feminine and lacy to compliment the elegance and sophistication of this era. The use of platinum and diamonds was a popular choice, together with precious stones such as rubies and emeralds.
Amethysts and pearls were a particular favourite of Queen Alexandria – she wore a chocker necklace called a “dog collar” featuring these favoured jewels. Edwardian jewellery also used the peridot stone, a particular favourite of King Edward, and considered his lucky stone. This stone is seen in many Edwardian jewellery pieces.
Platinum allowed new delicate and intricate lacy designs to be created in a milgrain setting. This new setting was a border of delicate balls or grains, giving a softer look to the jewellery, not possible with the softer gold settings.
Rolled gold, a layer of gold coated over a base metal, was perfected at this time making fine jewellery more accessible. Garlands, hearts, birds, leaves, flowers and curved shapes in open worked white metals, created by fine craftsman.