Inspired by a quote from VOGUE, saying that ‘This season, designers nod to every era from Edo to Edwardian’, we have been studying the past for clues to the origins of present-day jewellery design.

In parts one and two of our blog post on this subject (which are still available to read), we looked at the history of adornment using organic ‘throwaway’ materials as well as the sculpting of amazing precious jewellery, crowns and tiaras for the social elite, using the most precious materials of the time. We also looked at the non-European incorporation of clashing colour, the use of bells from Asia and the first recorded use of glass beads in Mesopotamia.

Another natural product from the long-distant past still in use today is animal skin, as a by-product of hunting and fishing.  Stingray leather has been used for quite a few of the stand-out designer jewellery pieces in our Byzantium range, such as this gorgeous designer caramel cuff –

 

or these striking designer loop earrings with zirconia stone trim –

Other items in the Byzantium Collection have a direct corollary with ancient Egypt, when the tradition began for ornate chokers encrusted with precious stones.  This influence is clearly visible in this stunning, gold-plated citrine choker, for example – available right now for modern-day Cleopatras!

The ancient Romans on the other hand adapted and improved upon the innovations found in its vast empire and through trading, particularly absorbing the gold-work of the ancient Greeks and Etruscans and their meticulous craftsmanship. It’s not surprising that this tradition still exists in Rome and is perfectly embodied by the skills of Maria de Toni, who works from her Rome studio to create fantasies in gold and a wonderful array of strong-coloured stones, like the amethysts, iolite and rhodolites in these ‘Rome’ earrings –

It was another Italian city of course – the great rival of Rome: Venice – that was to become another great jewellery-making centre by the 11th century. The Venetians were known for injecting elegance and grace into their designs, whose influence went on to be seen throughout Europe.

This tradition continues to this day on the Venetian island of Murano and, at Expressions Des Bijoux, we are delighted to stock these wonderful designer necklaces in our ‘Carnevale Collection’, each with a hand-blown Venetian glass bead at its centre, available in seven different colours –

The Renaissance saw a return to themes of classical antiquity, whilst miniature portraiture was the favourite adornment of the Tudor dynasty. It wasn’t really until the 17th century when the real merits of jewellery as a fashion accessory became apparent, especially as the era of diamond-cutting was just beginning.

We don’t have many diamond-encrusted pieces in our collection (we concentrate more on high end fashion and semi-precious jewellery!), but there are a few exquisite black diamonds in our exclusive designer pieces by Matteo and Francesco Zangara, as with these ‘Palazzo Pandora’ earrings in gold and silver with a silver Tahitian pearl and a single black diamond in each –