Although the reign of King Edward Vll ended upon his death in 1910, this was not the end of the Edwardian period for jewelry – or for other style products. In design terms, the Edwardian period continued right through to 1920, when the Art Deco Style began.
In the Edwardian period, advances in technology allowed Platinum to be used in jewelry for the first time. The introduction of the oxyacetylene torch, which was capable of producing the high temperatures needed to work with this new metal, opened up new opportunities for jewellers. After the Victorian years, when yellow gold was the prime metal, the whiteness and lustre of platinum soon found favour and this new metal became a popular metal of choice – particularly since it enhanced the color and sparkle of diamonds that were also increasing in popularity.
The strength of platinum meant that less metal needed to be used in the setting. This enabled a more elegant style of ring to be produced. Jewellers took the flowery styles of the Victorian era and re-defined them so that the diamonds and other gemstones, such as sapphires, took centre stage with settings becoming less visible.
Edwardian diamond rings were designed to look as light and as delicate as possible. Jewellers created intricate and very feminine filigree patterns that made the rings look like lace. Fine millegrain work that created exquisite edging and diamonds surrounded by tiny diamond accents ensured that engagement rings, wedding rings and other jewellery during this time was some of the finest ever to be produced.
As a result, the Edwardian period has become renown for its exquisite workmanship where platinum and diamonds predominated. In French terms, this period became La Belle Epoque – The Beautiful Era.