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Vintage Jewelry Styles

When you think of vintage or vintage-inspired jewelry, you likely have an heirloom piece with lots of intricate detail that comes to mind. However, the term “vintage” covers many eras: an immense variety of jewelry styles. Our experts at Michael Agnello Jewelers have put together a guide to the distinguishing characteristics of jewelry made in or inspired by these distinct eras.

Georgian Era

This era spans a great deal of time – from 1714 to 1837 – and is named for the reign of five English kings, four named George and one named William. Historical events influenced jewelry from this period in England, France, Germany, and Italy. While it is rare to find pieces forged during this time, pieces influenced by the Georgian era are typically characterized by ornate metalwork like scrolls and vines, as well as motifs such as ribbons, bows, leaves, and feathers.

Victorian Era

Named after Queen Victoria, this era occurred between 1837 and 1901. The Victorian era is known for exceptionally romantic jewelry designs frequently wrought in 18k yellow gold. Intricate filigree resembling embroidery work was wonderfully feminine and exciting. A wide variety of vibrant and eye-catching gemstones became the focal points of these pieces, while motifs like eyes, anchors, hearts, crosses, hands, and more accentuated their metal settings.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau era took place towards the end of the 19th century, and both reacted to and incorporated the spirit of the Industrial Revolution. This era was short-lived, lasting only about 15 years, but it had a lasting impact. Art Nouveau jewelry is characterized by mythical, feminine imagery like mermaids, fairies, insects, and flowers. Flowing lines and muted colors were also common characteristics of this period.

Art Deco

The years between 1920 and 30 are called the Art Deco era. Jewelry and art from this period starkly contrast with most eras before it, emphasizing symmetry, geometry, color, and contrast. Influenced by Fauvism (bright colors) and Cubism (geometric shapes), Art Deco jewelry paints an exquisite picture of the unique time in which it was born.


Jewelry from the Retro period, known as the years from 1930 through the 40s, shares some similarities with the Art Deco era before it, featuring bold imagery and colors, yet is set apart by chunky silhouettes and a futuristic feel. Bright yellow gold and sterling silver were often set with one or two large gems for truly commanding jewelry.

Shop Vintage Jewelry at Michael Agnello Jewelers

It would be our honor if you made Michael Agnello Jewelers your source of fine jewelry and professional jewelry services. Our selection of designer, vintage-inspired jewelry is second to none, crafted by some of the most reputable designers in the world. Stop by our St. Clair Shores jewelry store for an experience like no other, or contact us for more information on our products and services.