The Edwardian period corresponds to the French Belle Époque period. The period is characterised by its own unique architectural style, fashion, and lifestyle. Art Nouveau had a particularly strong influence.
As with the Belle Époque period, platinum is the metal of choice, the diamonds are largely from the new diamond mines in South Africa. There was enormous wealth during this period, and the jewellery had an extravagance to match.
Cartier led the way with the use of platinum which enabled delicate and fragile looking garlands with form and function, studded with brilliant cut glistening diamonds. Other designers such as Fabergé, Boucheron, and Tiffany began to follow the trend, and introduced their own influences from China and India.
Jewellers became spoilt for choice as precious materials came pouring in from all corners of the globe. Pearls from the Persian Gulf, Australia, Ceylon, the Mississippi Valley and Scotland. Black pearls appeared from Tahiti and Panama. Demantoid garnet, pink topaz, amethyst, sapphire, peridot, ruby, emerald, turquoise, and tourmaline suddenly became readily available to British designers.
The fashion for rings grew large, diamonds were massive, set up high on fingers with ornate settings. Jewellers developed new techniques with platinum to produce beautiful lace-like detailing.
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