Estate jewelry is defined in this way: jewelry that has been previously owned. It could refer to a true antique (over 50 years old) or to a recently purchased item.

Why do people want Estate Jewelry?

Nostalgia – Sentiment plays a large part in jewelry selection. People are searching more and more for reminders of past, more stable times. Just as the whole mood of nostalgia continues strong, older jewelry reminds them of those times.

Design – Individual craftsmen left their tell-tale mark of quality with an outstanding sense of shape and form. There were no machines stamping out pieces by the thousands, only individual artisans practicing their chosen profession of fabricating beautiful jewelry one piece at a time.

Mid and late Victorian Period: 1850 – 1890

With the reign of Queen Victoria, Great Britain and France became a major jewelry center. The Industrial Revolution was creating a growing middle class that used jewelry to flaunt its new- found wealth. And with mechanization came the ability to mine precious metals and gemstones as well as to mass produce jewelry.


The romantic image of the young queen and her beloved consort, Prince Albert, influenced styles of her early and mid-reign. Seed pearls, shell cameos, strands of pearls and small colored stones such as garnets, amethysts and topaz were fashionable. With Albert’s death in 1861, jewelry changed drastically as Victoria adopted heavy and somber jewelry to express her grief. Typical materials were jet, black onyx, tortoise shell and hair (usually horse hair), often set into heavy gold work.

Edwardian Period: 1901-1914

Victoria was succeeded by her son Edward VII whose reign celebrated a joyous return to elegance. Jewelry complimented the laces, silks and feathers worn by Edwardian ladies. Diamonds were in profusion, either alone or with colored stones. Pearls were also very popular


Because of the metal strength of platinum -replacing gold in vogue – Edwardian jewelry was an engineering marvel. Delicate filigree work could now be fashioned to resemble fine lace, and hinges allowed movement in the pieces.

Art Nouveau: 1890-1915

By the late 19th Century, Victorian sobriety and dignity were challenged by a strong counter-culture movement in all the decorative arts. Art Nouveau burst upon Europe and America alike with its romantic, light-hearted glory -the antithesis not only of its staid predecessor but also a reaction against the imitative, often crude, pieces which were the result of the Industrial Revolution.


Slim, ethereal figures appeared in art and jewelry as well. An Art Nouveau trademark is the head of a girl with a dreamy expression and swirling hair. Dragonflies, with their long delicate wings, and peacocks with their iridescent colors and stylized floral themes, were other expressions of the influences of nature.

While established jewelers continued to use diamonds and pearls in the new, dainty styles, French jeweler Rene Lalique extended his innovative look to ivory, horn, carved glass and enamel. Gemstones like opals and moonstones were often used. One American whose delicate designs and exquisite enameling left a strong impression on the Art Nouveau period was Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Art Deco: 1920 – 1935

The soft tones of Art Nouveau gave way to a brasher, more sophisticated look. Flappers were in -and so was Art Deco! Born in France, Art Deco erupted in the United States.


Streamlined enameled pieces, often in bold colors, enhanced the angular looking clothing and design. Color combinations in gemstones were equally bold and bright. Rubies were set next to emeralds in massive brooches; coral and lapis lazuli or jade were frequently used together.

Retro Period: 1935 – 1949

Luxury production halted in Europe because all platinum and most gold and silver were needed to fund World War II. During this period American jewelry came into its own. Influenced by Hollywood stars, pieces were flamboyant. Huge stones in oversized pieces emerged, often mounted in rose, green and/or yellow gold depending on the makeup of the alloy. After the United States entered the war, what jewelry produced was less romantic but still outsized. This trend continued until after the war when styles again softened.

Individual craftsmanship was not yet on the wane, however. One distinct trend to emerge after World War II was the use of gold. Gold had previously been used in mountings to stress the beauty of other elements of a jewelry piece- now it was being used as the sole element of fine jewelry. Many gold brooches available today, such as simple circle pins or more elaborate animals or flowers, can be traced to the trends of the 1950s.

You ask, “Why Buy Antique Jewelry?” Uniqueness is the simple answer. When purchasing antique vintage jewelry which is 50 years old or older, you are acquiring something from another time; something that may be rare and something that is definitely different from what you see in most jewelry stores. Consider perusing an Estate & Antique Jewelry Store, like ours. Estate Jewelry simply means previously owned. You will often come across that special Antique Jewelry find and maybe something from another time period that has specific unique characteristics.

About Gesner Estate Jewelry:

GESNER ESTATE JEWELRY provides the finest jewelry at the lowest price possible. We specialize in Antique & Vintage gold and platinum jewelry from the turn of the 20th century to the late 1930’s; however, our inventory of newer pieces in gold and platinum are also unsurpassed. We maintain an inventory of several thousand unique items. Every piece is in wonderful condition and uncommon in design. We do not sell reproduction jewelry or lab-created gems unless it has been very clearly stated in the item’s description.

Gesner offers APPRAISAL SERVICES from our G.I.A. graduate. Graydon Gesner has his Graduate Gemology Degree, Accredited Jewelry Professional Degree, and the G.I.A. Pearl Grading Lab Degree. These studies were accomplished at the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.), located at the Carlsbad, California campus which is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. He was an on-campus student and excelled in all phases of his studies. Out of 11 G.I.A. campus locations worldwide, Carlsbad, California is the G.I.A. World Headquarters that brings students from all over the world. Please call the Tampa store at 813.282.1008 or email Graydon at [email protected] to schedule your appointment to have your jewelry professionally appraised. Graydon’s website can be seen at

Art Deco Engagement Rings

The soft tones of Art Nouveau gave way to a brasher, more sophisticated look. Flappers were in -and so was Art Deco! Born in France, Art Deco erupted in the United States.

Streamlined enameled pieces, often in bold colors, enhanced the angular looking clothing and design. Color combinations in gemstones were equally bold and bright.

Gesner Estate Jewelry offers the finest jewelry repairs and watch repairs in Tampa and Largo, Florida. Our Master Jewelers are available for all jewelry repairs. Not only do they repair and refurbish jewelry, they can create a unique handmade piece of jewelry!

For those people living in the Pinellas County area who cannot or do not wish to travel to our Tampa store, we invite you to view our entire inventory as shown on our website. We are happy to bring anything to our Largo office that you would like to see from our Tampa store. There is no fee for this service and no one needs to feel obligated in any way. We simply offer this service as a convenience for the customer who has difficulty in making the trip to our store in Tampa.

Our Watchmaker is also available for all Watch Repair of your watches to include luxury brands such as Rolex, Tag Heuer, Breitling, Audemars Piguet, etc. as well as antique watches.

Check out Our Art Deco Engagement Rings:

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