Silver is a major player in the world of jewellery. The importance of the precious metal cannot be overstated. In some jewellery eras it was more popular than gold. For many people, even today, there is only silver – for them it is the only true jewellery material. Most likely, there are even more jewellery lovers with an affinity to silver, or to its colour character, than those who prefer yellow gold. This is reflected in the unbroken high demand for antique jewellery made of white gold and platinum. But before 1900, when white gold and platinum were not yet established, there was already jewellery made of silver that was thousands of years old. A wonderful material that is also loved and revered by us!
You can buy timeless antique silver jewellery conveniently online – here at Antique Jewellery Berlin: Our assortment ranges from classicism to the Belle Époque and the Art Deco style of the 1930s to the vintage era. That’s not a thousand years – but our antique silver jewellery from the last three centuries is very diverse. Embark on this fascinating journey to silver jewellery from the most important eras.
Forever modern: Antique silver jewellery
Next to gold, silver is the most commonly used precious metal in jewellery making. There are so many reasons for its popularity – emotional, fashionable and also purely technical. Silver has been used as a jewellery metal for an estimated five thousand years. This makes it probably the oldest jewellery metal. Nowadays, nobody would call such old silver jewellery modern and timeless. At this point, we prefer to take an enormous leap back in time to the Georgian era in England and German classicism. There, silver was already processed in a very advanced way to create silver jewellery that is antique, but at the same time already stimulates our modern awareness of style and fashion.
Where alternative materials such as steel (cut steel) and iron (Berlin iron) were used for jewellery production alongside gold, silver never had to submit to a trend or even any unpopularity – quite the opposite! Silver has always been ideal and much adored by jewellery lovers. Stylish pieces of jewellery are always proof of good taste and, then more than now, a sign of wealth and social standing. Antique silver jewellery suits practically every occasion and complements every style of dress. It is ideal as a fashion accessory because the colour combination possibilities are unlimited. Those who also appreciate diverse pieces of jewellery for their personal looks probably have a few pieces of brand genuine silver jewellery in their repertoire.
“Genuine” or genuine antique silver jewellery is characterised by its high degree of purity, which is completely self-evident in our antique jewellery. Fortunately, hallmarks were precisely regulated in Victorian England. The so-called “hallmarks” not only provide precise information about the alloy (usually 925 sterling silver), but also about the year and place of origin. This lends Victorian silver jewellery not only a valuable commitment, but also incorruptible charm. After all, we experts love it when jewellery can be dated precisely – especially with classic silver bangles, this is usually possible. Hand-engraved silver medallions as well as silver earrings and necklaces still enjoy great popularity after generations.
The often used term “timeless” hits the nail on the head. Antique jewellery made of silver is timelessly beautiful in the best sense! A little understatement is good in the 21st century – it really doesn’t always have to be gold jewellery. Moreover, fine silver jewellery is still the significantly cheaper alternative to white gold and platinum. However, people opt for the latter because of its visual characteristics when it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands. Because silver can really do a lot – but wedding rings and engagement rings are rather unusual. And it doesn’t have to be. Silver can shine effortlessly in many other places! For generations and until all times to come …
Epochs past: Old silver jewellery as a journey through time
If you look from old jewellery to modern jewellery through the epochs, antique silver jewellery becomes smaller and more filigree. Victorian silver jewellery in particular came across as quite voluminous. Apart from earrings, it was mainly pieces of jewellery for the neck and wrist that were made of sterling silver. Rings, for both ladies and gentlemen, were largely made of gold. Popular silver jewellery from antique times were, for example, medallions. Their workmanship was always extraordinarily imaginative and elaborate. Special features are hand engravings and great reliefs of contemporary motifs such as ivy or elements of Japonism. In any case, the first photographs, such as the legendary daguerreotypes, demanded such large pendants with sufficient space inside. Perfectly matching sterling silver locket necklaces are among the truly sensational pieces of jewellery with incomparable charm, well from the 19th century.
Towards the end of the Victorian era, a completely new style emerged throughout Europe: Art nouveau. This epoch, so important for antique jewellery, was part of the Belle Époque and blossomed in German-speaking countries as Jugendstil and in England as Edwardian. From then on, antique silver jewellery was more filigree, more elegant and more often decorated with precious stones than before. Even today, jewellery with colourful enamel art exudes a special charm. In Scandinavia as well as in England, visually impressive enamelling on elegant silver jewellery was understood. The medallions already mentioned became smaller thanks to further developments in photographic technology. Rigid bangles were largely replaced by delicate bracelets. Remarkably beautiful pieces came from France in particular, which radiated additional charm with effective partial gold plating. Every jeweller did well to offer a wide range of exciting silver jewellery, because the demand was great.
It became even greater when the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 1930s raised the quality of life, general prosperity and the arts to an unprecedented level. The fabulous Art déco: that’s when -perhaps- silver lost a little of its relevance. The high art of platinum forging had already been established. White gold had been invented. Prosperity on the one hand and the wide availability of the finest jewellery materials through worldwide trade on the other, ensured the triumph of gold, white gold and platinum. The ring was often the star among jewellery accessories …
But the fascination for the colour character of silver was never lost. Goldsmiths and jewellers transferred the coveted visual characteristics of silver to jewellery made of white gold and platinum. Richly set with precious stones, antique jewellery was created in a way that had never been possible before. It was not until the post-war years that silver jewellery became much more popular again. If you would like to buy antique silver jewellery online with us, you will find among other things:
- Sterling silver bangle from the Victorian → hand forged, engraved and chased. Timelessly beautiful and worn by confident, modern women.
- Earrings and stud earrings silver from the Georgian to the vintage period from the 1950s onwards → from large to small there was every design, some set with sapphires and other gemstones.
- Brooches, arm jewellery and earrings of the so-called Pebbles jewellery from Victorian Scotland → Sterling silver jewellery decorated with stunning agates. Sometimes “rough” but deeply “honest” silver jewellery.
- Bracelets, brooches and necklaces with colourful enamel → often animal motifs such as butterflies. In some cases, the silver was also additionally gilded. This type of jewellery was continued in Art Deco.
- Men’s jewellery made of sterling silver, such as cufflinks, coarse-link bracelets and rings → popular especially from the 1920s onwards. Further developed over the vintage period and still a modern classic of men’s jewellery today.
Filigree and playful: Antique silver jewellery from the Art Nouveau period
Playful is a term that is always used affectionately in reference to jewellery of this era. And indeed, it is true. Art Nouveau was an important part of the Belle Époque and it already has it in its name. So if we look at antique silver jewellery from the Art Nouveau period, the time between the late 19th century and the beginning of the 1920s, we are struck by how light-footed and filigree it appears. Whether the small hand-engraved medallions in the shape of hearts, the delicate bracelets or the masterfully enamelled jewellery – everything has a touch of lightness.
Something new had also become fashionable: Variety of colours! Pendants and necklaces as well as brooches with colourful jewellery enamel were sold more frequently than ever before. You will find high-quality enamel work from some world-class ateliers in Denmark, Norway and England in our range. Silver jewellery was filigreed, then engraved, chased or guilloched. And as the crowning glory of the art, colourful enamel was incorporated, which to this day stands for incomparable beauty. Wearing such jewellery shows a love of nature and a zest for life. We know some jewellery lovers with a meanwhile large collection of these fine masterpieces. Such a passion never ends!
Insured shipping: Buy antique & vintage silver jewellery in our online shop
Antique silver jewellery is a nod to a jewellery material that touches the senses. This runs through our entire range: from Georgian / classicism to vintage silver jewellery. Depending on your own taste and personal look, everyone should have a few special pieces in their private accessories collection: whether elegant, playful or filigree. Antique silver jewellery is also perfect as an inexpensive gift – for others or, best of all, simply for yourself. We will be happy to advise you and present you with convincing antique jewellery that you should not miss. In doing so, we pay attention to the greatest possible accuracy in dating the antique silver jewellery and vintage jewellery. When you buy jewellery online from us, you enjoy the full security of an online shop with the highest security certificates. Shipping is included worldwide and insured with tracking. So nothing stands in the way of your happiness. Browse right away!
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