A Guide To 17th Century Jewellery Making

If you are a lover of fine antique jewellery, you’re certainly not alone and we often wonder how they managed to create such amazing pieces during a time when there was no machinery or technology. All the superb 17th century jewellery that is still around was hand-crafted by skilled people and in this article, we offer you information about the making of 17th century antique jewellery.

All About Skill

As you would expect in those days, craftsmen taught their children in order that they followed the same trade and using a wide range of hand tools, the jeweller shaped precious metals and also cut gemstones to fit into the piece. Of course, the 17th century was a period when only the aristocracy and royalty wore jewellery made from gold or silver and some very famous jewellers lived during this century.

The Reign Of King Louis XVI

This glamorous ruler reigned from 1642-1715 and he loved exquisite clothing and jewellery, always commissioning the top jewellery makers to create something even more opulent than before, which is why there are some stunning pieces still around from that period. It is rumoured that Louis XVI had more diamonds imported from India than any other European monarch. Emeralds, rubies and sapphires were also incorporated into jewellery designs. In other parts of Europe, such as Austria, Spain and Portugal, top jewellery designers created pieces for royalty, Lords and Ladies.

Acquiring Antique Jewellery

If you would like to buy antique jewellery online Australia or your country is able to preserve, there are reputable antique jewellers who would have a catalogue of genuine antique pieces and in the event they don’t have what you are looking for, there is a global network of dealers that can source any item.

Gold & Silver

The main metal used at this time to make jewellery was gold and silver, with gold often mixed with alloys to make it stronger and more durable. Some jewellery was made from pure gold and this would be commissioned by a wealthy person for the lady in their life, along with precious stones.

Hand Cut Stones

Obviously, there was no gem cutting machinery in the 17th century and the old hand-cut diamonds were known as ‘mine cut’; these stones are not perfectly symmetrical, as they were cut by hand. Diamonds were not widely available back then. While other stones were used most of the time, there are still some 17th century diamond jewellery pieces.

Using Only Hand Tools

The 17th century jewellery maker would have a comprehensive set of special hand tools to create pieces, with tools to cut and shape metal, leather and other materials. The Internet hosts a wealth of information about the 17th century, including how they fashioned jewellery. A couple of hours of surfing the web would educate you about 17th century jewellery and how it was made.

Collecting Antique Jewellery


If you are a collector who is interested in the 17th century, Google can help you to locate an antique dealer based in your area and they would have some early pieces dating from that period. Of course, you should always be careful when ordering antiques online and choosing a well-known dealer ensures that you get what you pay for.

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