For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about vintage jewelry, first defining it, and then talking about eras through the nineteenth century. This week, in our last post on the topic, we’ll cover the twentieth century, which is probably most of what you’ll find in pawn shops in Northern Virginia.
Arts and Crafts Jewelry (c. 1894-1923)
Handcrafted responses to the mass produced items of the Industrial featured clean and simple designs.
Art Nouveau Jewelry (c. 1890-1915)
Stylized motifs of plants, birds, and insects often had Asian influence.
Edwardian Jewelry (c. 1901-1915)
Lavish pieces featuring brilliant gemstones set into elaborately decorative designs followed the death of Queen Victoria.
Art Deco Jewelry (c. 1920-1935)
Art Deco jewelry features geometric shapes, strong lines, and bright color contrasts, influenced Egyptian, African, and Japanese themes. Bracelets are especially popular.
Retro Jewelry (c. 1940)
Big and colorful, this jewelry was inspired by Hollywood glamour.
While pawns shops in Northern VA may have any of these pieces in stock, you may also come across vintage costume jewelry, which is, as it sounds, recreations of these popular styles using gold plating, glass or imitation gems. Many big-time designers—Weiss, Boucher, Kramer, etc.—have vintage costume lines, and these pieces enable vintage lovers to wear fifties-style brooches, sixties-style chandelier earrings, or seventies-style gold chains without breaking the bank.