Before the rise of mass industrialisation in the 19th and 20th century, clothing and jewellery were made by hand, much like the bespoke methods used today. Without machines mass producing products, products were made slowly, carefully and artfully.
Jewellery making is one of the oldest crafts and has been made for most of human civilisation, with new artefacts being found all of the time. Some of these pieces were crafted with incredible detail and has slowly paved the way for the jewellery we wear today.
Although jewellery making has been practised by almost every culture on earth, the market for fine jewellery only started in the last few centuries. After worldwide exploration and trade brought about a whole new world of materials and gemstones, the trade started to flourish and became a sign of wealth and grandeur with beautiful opulent pieces created by skilled goldsmiths.
In the 18th century, romanticism had a huge effect on western jewellery, and jewellery of this period was influenced by artefacts found around the world, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome being some of the biggest influences. By this time in history, the world was starting to take shape into the world we know today with The Industrial Revolution. This was one of the biggest changes civilisation has ever gone through, with machinery doing tasks that only humans had done before. With this became the rise of mass-produced jewellery, using cheaper metals and stone substitutes, these pieces of jewellery became widely available and affordable to the lower classes. However through this, gold and silversmiths still flourished, as the upper classes still wanted unique pieces to set themselves aside from the masses with precious gemstones and a handmade technique.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, different styles came into and out of fashion, but the love for jewellery continued with many large brands starting up such as Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Bulgari. In the 1920s another major change to the industry came in the form of Art Deco. Art Deco has a very distinctive style which is still replicated today, during this time there was major experimentation with materials, but above all technical mastery became valued as this style is very intricate and merged with the world of art and design. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, styles changed massively, but most women owned a piece of jewellery of some kind, whether that was costume or fine jewellery. Jewellery also became a lot more sentimental and important to the wearer and was often passed down through the family. Due to societal changes and advertising campaigns, using precious gemstones such as diamonds also became more desired.
Jewellery is still an ever changing and evolving industry, with the range of jewellery that is available larger than it has ever been. However, the one constant throughout the entire history of jewellery making is the skilled craftsmen and goldsmiths passing down knowledge and techniques from generation to generation. There is nothing quite like wearing your special bespoke adornment, knowing that centuries upon centuries of knowledge and skill has gone into making and creating it. Having something made just for you ensures that it is 100% your personality and suits your personal style, so you can enjoy it for years to come.