Also known as the Belle Epoque due to the elegant and comfortable lifestyle of the King and Queen, the Edwardian period spanned between 1890 and 1920. Many of the styles associated with the Edwardian period actually began in the Victorian era. The French high jewellery houses had a strong influence on the designs of the Edwardian period; Cartier became one of the prominent leaders of the garland style – a profusion of rococo-inspired bows, tassels and wreaths. The period is probably best known for its abundant use of filigree techniques in jewellery making. The delicate lacework appearance was created by layering fine threads of precious metals to the surface of the setting. This truly feminine style perfectly complemented the silk, lace and feathers that went to make up the attire of a fashionable lady of the time.
The three most emphasised components of Edwardian jewellery have to be platinum, diamonds and pearls. Filigree rings of white gold set with a single diamond were not uncommon. This white on white combination was considered the height of sophistication. As platinum was strong yet lightweight, it helped jewellers to create original settings where far less metal was required to set the stones. It also helped the understated gems to reach their true potential and elegance.