The Baroque period, which lasted from 1600 to 1775, had a lasting impact on the architecture, art, music, dress code and jewelry of this time period. It has helped to shape and inspire not only classical masterpieces but also fashion and jewelry design of the modern era.
Baroque Jewelry Styles
Before the Baroque period, jewelry was made using colored enamel. However, as jewelers become more skilled in cutting gemstones, they started to produce necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and tiaras that can be described as being nothing short of masterpieces. These jewelry items are distinguishable from those of earlier time periods because the metal work and gemstones are highlighted. Items made during this time were clearly meant to express jewelers’ creativity and originality.
Jewelry with engraved flowers also become quite popular, as was flower shaped gold and silver jewelry pieces. This was in part due to the fact that greater exploration of various countries was taking place at this time and individuals were just becoming acquainted with exotic flower species they had not seen before. Pearls were also very popular; however, many of the most wealthy men and women from this time period preferred to wear colorful gemstones instead.
Louis XIV was one of the best known Baroque jewelry enthusiasts of this time, and he ensured that his court followed suit. The Spanish were less impressed with gaudy jewelry. The English queen Elizabeth I also enjoyed wearing Baroque style jewelry when it came into popularity during the final years of her reign. However, when Cromwell came to power later on, nobles and common people alike were discouraged from wearing most of the ostentatious Baroque jewelry items that were so popular in other European countries.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK houses some extraordinary jewelry from this time period. Some well known pieces include the Necklace with Sapphire Pendant, a breast ornament enameled gold set with diamonds, an enameled gold Gimmel ring set with a diamond and a pomander dating back to 1600 – 1650.
The Emperor Akbar Baroque Pearl Drop Pendant is yet another well known jewelry piece from this time period. It was put up for auction in 1999; however, the identities of the seller and buyer are not known. At present, the pendant is being kept by the National Islamic Art Museum in Doha, Qatar. The Reliquary Brooch from France is presently preserved in the Louvre.
Anyone who appreciates antique jewelry is sure to find that jewelry items made in the Baroque period are of exquisite and unique beauty. This time is unique in history, as it is marked by heightened creativity not just in jewelry making but also in fashion, architecture, art and more. The advances made during this time period continue to inspire modern jewelry makers to this day and it is not hard to find imitation Baroque style jewelry for sale both at brick and mortar outlets and on the internet. Thankfully, many of the best pieces from this time period have been preserved and are available for viewing at museums all over the world.