The Costumer's Manifesto: 18th Century Jewelry 18th Century Jewelry
The 18th Century was aperiod of great change for the manufacturers of jewelry, for at the turn of the century, aVenetian Lapidary named Vincenzo Peruzzi invented the 56 faceted brilliant cut for stoneswhich is still used today. It replace the duller 16 faceted Mazarin cut of the previouscentury and launched diamonds to the forefront of jewelry design for the next 100 years.Metal work receded into the background almost completely and metals were used exclusivelyas inconspicuous back settings for diamonds.
18th Century jewelry cuts from
(V&A Costume Collection)
The most popular shapes forjewels were bows and floral designs. Stylized bows were used onbrooches, necklaces, earrings, and rings.
Diamonds were used to thealmost total exclusion of other gems until the 1750s when color in jewelry enjoyed arevival. To meetthe increased demand for white stones in the first half of the century, paste, rockcrystal, markasite, and cut steel were employed with increasing sophistication. Thesealternatives to diamonds were soon produced with such good quality that it was entirelyrespectable for royalty to wear them. Cut steel was especially popular because of itspractical wear ability for ordinary day use on shoe buckles, knee buckles, and buttons.
The 18th Century alsointroduced several new forms of jewelry, the most typical being the corsage, a kind ofdiamond stomacher. It was in use for court dress for the whole middle part of the century.
Stomacher and other 1760's jewelry patternsfrom
Another innovation, theaigrette, consisted of a spray of diamonds and was usually worn over the right ear on thehair.
1760's jewelry patterns from
However, the most interestingdevelopment was the chatelaine, a piece of everyday jewelry worn by both men and women.Suspended form the waist, it was used to carry watches, seals, needle-cases, keys,scissors, and penknives.
After the French Revolution,neoclassical motifs became popular in jewelry all over Europe, and the style-settingFrench in their republican mood shifted into Roman revival styles.
Decorated Swords for Gentlemenfrom Diderot's Encyclopedia, c.1762. Click here to go on to