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EDWARDIAN (1890-1920) Belle Epoque is another name for the period during the reign of Edward VII. The Belle Epoque means "Beautiful Time" in French. Edward VII of England reigned from 1901-1910. By the time Queen Victoria's son finally ascended to the throne, Edward and his wife, Alexandra, had already had an influence on jewelry. This period was characterized by delicate filigree in white gold and platinum, with diamonds and pearls predominating, and colored stones used less frequently, producing a light, monochromatic look. Delicate bows, swags, and garland effects were used in necklaces and brooches. Both dog collars (large, ornate chokers), and long fringed necklaces often of seed pearls, were also "in", popularized by the graceful, long-necked Queen Alexandra. This period witnessed the rise of an incredibly wealthy class who wore fine jewelry. It was distinctly different from Victorian. The color of gold changed from yellow to white, and platinum was introduced. Craftsmen designed filigree rings, pins, and bracelets -- with a lacy, intricate look. Edwardian motifs included garlands, bows, tassels, bar pins, tiaras, lavalieres, sautoirs and multiple strands of seed pearls in choker length called dog collars. Many of the bar pins (worn horizontally) have a two-tone look -- with a white metal top and yellow gold bottom. Monochromatic looks were popular, so diamonds and pearls were used together set in white metal. Other gem materials included amethyst and peridot, the favorite stones of Alexandra and Edward, as well as some sapphire.
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