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Jewelry Timeline

Social

Technology & Influences

Findings & Motifs

Materials

400BC- 400AD

Glass used as gem substitute

Diamonds not cut, “point cut” were polished crystals

1200

Sumptuary Laws in Medieval Europe & England capped luxury in dress and jewelry. Townspeople in France & elsewhere not allowed to wear girdles or coronals made of pearls, gemstones, gold or silver.

The fact that these laws forbade yeomen and artisans from wearing gold and silver indicates how the status of jewelry and sumptuous dress had become widespread beyond just the nobility.

1300-1600

1300 imitation pearls produced with white powdered glass mixed with albumen (egg white) and snail slime

Cabochon & crudely made soft glass ‘pastes’.

Table cut introduced for diamonds: top & bottom points cut off, flat top facet is the ‘table’

1550

Table-cut ‘paste’

Pastes set in gilt as fake gems

Mazarin cut diamonds (34 facets, blocky)

1600’s

Earrings worn day and night, fake pearl and paste acceptable, fine diamond jewelry kept for evening

Shepard hook earwire, long backs

Beads, pearls strung on ribbon or cord & tied in back

Enamel on “everything”

Ornate pendant bails

Rose cut diamond cut (flat bottoms, faceted tops)

Sancy cut pear shaped rose faceted diamonds

1630

Jaquin of Paris patents a method of making fake pearls, wax-filled glass balls coated with fish scale varnish

Pearls and fake pearls profuse, covered dresses, etc.

Paste jewelry was usual in the 1670s and was worn at court.

1730

Most fake jewelry made in Paris, all kinds of fake gems made, including fake opals.

Hinged loop earwire (back entry) hand made

“French” earwire

Fibula catch

Diamonds & white stones until 1750.  Soft glass ‘paste’, rock crystal, marcasite, and cut steel accepted for ‘diamond’ look (all classes)

Peruzzi cut diamonds, c. 1700. 56 facet cushion cut brilliant

1734

In France Georges Strass patents best, longest-lasting formula for “true” paste, a compound of glass, white lead oxide and potash.

1740

Necklace terminals to secure a ribbon

French wires, triangle-shaped catch for wire

High-lead glass “true” paste gems--not considered ‘fake’--set in precious metals. Foiled backs

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