The end of the Renaissance, in the 17th century, is marked by increasing wealth amongst the general population. This meant that silver and gold jewelry typically reserved to the rich was now making its way into the lives of some lower classes of society. As mentioned in Part 7, jewelry became a widely used form of currency during this period and it is likely that even the lower classes who were now able to acquire significant pieces used them for this purpose.
While important war and territorial conflicts destroyed many of the most spectacular pieces produced in earlier times, the discovery of new countries during the 17th century resulted in a new fascination with nature that focused on flora and fauna more than it had at any time before this. While diamonds remained popular, along with new methods for cutting them, the use of vividly colored gemstones increased and jewelry artists incorporated the shapes of flowers and animals in their designs.
For the 17th century and into the early part of the 20th century, evolving manufacturing techniques contributed to this trend significantly. At this time, glass appears as a component of design. Jewelry trends and fashion changed faster than ever during the Industrial Revolution, 1750 to 1850.
To be continued…