The above photos are a samples from our collections.

What is estate jewelry? Simply put: jewelry which has been previously owned. At b. alsohns, we work with one of the largest estate dealers in the country to find the most unique, one-of-a-kind estate pieces that we’re proud to display. You never know what you’ll find on any given day. We get a new infusion of pieces every few months, so our collection is always fresh and fascinating. From vintage Tiffany and Cartier pieces to outlandish men’s rings from the Red Skelton collection, you can be sure that there will always be something historical and nostalgic to pique your interest.

The type of estate jewelry most available and affordable in the United States dates from the middle of the 19th century on. At b. alsohns, we often feature pieces from the following eras.

Mid and Late Victorian Period: 1850 – 1890. The romantic image of Queen Victoria and her beloved consort, Prince Albert, influenced the styles of this period. Seed pearls, shell cameos, strands of pearls and small colored stones such as garnets, amethysts and topaz were fashionable. With Albert’s death in 1861, jewelry styles changed drastically as Victoria adopted heavy, somber jewelry to express her grief. Materials such as jet, black onyx, tortoise shell and horse hair, often set into heavy gold work, were in vogue.

Edwardian Period: 1901 - 1914. Victoria was succeeded by her son Edward VII, whose reign celebrated a joyous return to elegance. Diamonds, colored stones, and pearls became popular and complimented the feminine fashions of the day. Platinum replaced gold as the metal in demand, and delicate filigree work was made to resemble fine lace.

ART NOUVEAU: 1890 - 1915. By the late 19th century, Art Nouveau burst upon Europe and America alike with its romantic, ethereal theme. Often expressed through images from nature, such as dragonflies with long delicate wings, peacocks with their iridescent colors, and stylized floral themes, Art Nouveau brought a light-hearted touch to jewelry. Popular designers from this period include French jeweler Rene Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

ART DECO: 1920 - 1935. The soft tones of Art Nouveau gave way to a more sophisticated look as Art Deco reflected the newfound freedom of women. Streamlined enamel pieces, often in bold colors, enhanced the angular look in clothing. Color combinations in gemstones were equally bold and bright. Rubies were set next to emeralds in massive brooches, and combinations such as coral and lapis lazuli were used, as women embraced the flamboyant, geometric styles of Art Deco.

RETRO PERIOD: 1935 - 1949. During this time, luxury production halted in Europe because all platinum and most gold and silver were needed to fund World War II. At this time, American jewelry came into its own. Influenced by Hollywood stars, pieces were flamboyant with huge stones in oversized settings. This trend continued until after the war, when styles again softened. One distinct trend to emerge after WWII was the use of gold as a stand-alone piece. Many gold brooches available today, such as simple circle pins or more elaborate animals or flowers, can be traced to the trend of the 1950s.