The Transformation Of Precious Jewellery

Dr. C Vinod Hayagriv explores the evolution of Jewelry design from the Romantic period to modern innovations


From a humble beginning as an adornment of protection as amulets and talismans, the journey of gold and diamond journey inched further as fasteners or brooches symbolising personal status. The evolution of designs is witnessed gradually across many eras.

Among the various jewellery periods, we wish to take you through only the most appropriate, the Victorian era, which witnessed the highest popularity of sentimental love. The early Victorian or Romantic Period covers the earlier days when Prince Albert married Queen Victoria. The crafting of these jewellery designs by the master Italian goldsmiths was also most sought after for their elaborate gold wire work-filigree and other forms of delicate metalsmithing techniques that incorporated sentimental motifs that continued to dominate, such as lover’s knot, flowers, bows, hearts, crescent moons and serpents.

Following the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa in the 19th century and the following 

Industrial Revolution prompted prosperity leading to the purchasing power of middle-class families, who afford to wear fine diamond jewellery and travel. To add on, cities like Italy started offering jewellery souvenirs of great cities and sites in micro mosaics and shell cameos.

Let us take a quick tour of the other following era to drive through the evolution of the jewellery concept from then to now.

Art Nouveau drew designs and inspirations from nature, like the flowers, birds and the female form incorporating new materials and techniques like enamelling and ivory.

The Art Deco period was a blend of luxury, glamour and considerable technological advancement in jewellery manufacturing derived from the influences of global culture, stylised floral motifs and carved cabochons. The lively vibrant hues of rubies, sapphires, jade, lapis, and onyx, produced a contrasting effect with sparkling diamonds are some of the most influential designs that continue to be inspired even today.

The Retro jewellery of the 1940 and 50 s was large, colourful and extremely lively to counter the dull clothing styles of the World War II era.

Beginning in the mid-1960s was the Modern period of traditional jewellery, conceptually richly textured yellow gold jewellery studded with colourful gemstones, which became the norm.

However, the last 40 years has witnessed an immense dramatic change in jewellery manufacturing incorporating various techniques, form and function as more women entered the workplace. Modern jewellery with innovations, mixed metals, different styling, large necklaces and bulky earrings became a fashion trend – even with more innovations in the future, jewellery will remain a form of adornment forever.

(Dr. C Vinod Hayagriv, Director & Managing Director, 150 Year C. Krishniah Chetty Group Of Jewellers)

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