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What is Revival Jewelry?

Written by Annabelle
January 14, 2019

If you're a jewelry aficionado, chances are you've heard the term “revival jewelry” being tossed around. But what does it mean? Read on to find out about what it is, and why you should consider adding some to your collection.

Revival Jewelry

Revival jewelry, simply put, is jewelry that imitates a style from a particular period of time. For example, Victorian jewelers created Ancient Egypt-inspired pieces during the craze for archaeology in the late 1800s. The idea that revival jewelry must be created by current-day manufacturers in imitation of antique jewelry is a common misconception- revival jewelry itself can be centuries old, such as the Victorian Egyptian revival pieces.

Aside from mimicking visual styles, this kind of jewelry can also be made by using ancient jewelry techniques.

Why Should I Buy Revival Jewelry?

There are several reasons as to why it's a better idea to purchase revival jewelry than jewelry from the actual time period.

  1. Availability: If you're a fan of ancient Roman jewelry after visiting a couple of museums, you should know that it's probably not possible for you to get your hands on a pair of genuine gold earrings from 600 B.C. Fortunately for you, museum shops are some of the best places to get ancient civilization-inspired jewelry. We especially love the Metropolitan Museum of Art (although we might be a little biased; we're in New York after all!)

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a wide variety of revival jewelry. Look at the Egyptian Rosette Collection in the center top row.

  2. Affordability: Even if there is a pair of ancient Roman gold earrings on the market to the public, chances are it's way out of the price range for most people. You can get the same look for half the price with revival jewelry, since it has no actual historical value. The older and finer a piece of jewelry is, the more expensive it'll become!
  3. Durability: The older the jewelry, the more damaged and brittle it is. If you want a ring that has all of the Georgian aesthetic without the stones falling out, getting a Georgian revival piece is a better investment. If you're going the custom route, you can even choose a metal that is more durable, such as low-karat gold.

    An Etruscan ring replication we did for our customer Jan. The original ring was yellow gold, while the duplication was intentionally cast in white gold, as requested.

  4. Sanitary: Let's face it- while some romantics adore antique jewelry for its history, the idea of wearing something that was precious to someone dead (and unrelated to you) is gross to a lot of people. You won't have that issue with a brand-new piece that looks like it was made during the Victorian era, but actually came out of a jewelry manufacturer's shop in 2019. And best of all? No previous owners.

Where Can I Buy Revival Jewelry?

While revival jewelry can be purchased in many places, there are specific shops and artisans who specialize in revival jewelry. From museum shops to local artists, it's just a matter of finding the style that you prefer. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Nancy Troske: Nancy Troske is a Princeton University-featured goldsmith with decades of experience. She is deeply inspired by pieces from ancient cultures, such as Ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek jewelry. Her dedication to those time periods extend to her jewelry-making methods; Troske loves utilizing ancient techniques such as granulation, chainmaking, and enameling in her work.
    revival-jewelry nancy troske

    This coin ring is clearly inspired by Ancient Roman jewelry.

  • Maejean Vintage: If you're a more recent romantic, Maejean Vintage is the place for you! Run by two gemologist sisters, the shop has a wide selection of vintage and antique jewelry. In addition to their estate pieces, the sisters also design their own jewelry, inspired by Victorian and Edwardian artisans.

    These birthstone earrings designed by Maejean Vintage make use of the Victorian buttercup setting.


Now that you're up-to-date on what revival jewelry is, let us know which style you like in the comments below! (We personally love Victorian…)

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