Intro to Antique Jewelry: History and Materials

image courtesy Gray & Davis
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Taught by Anna Rasche

Anna Rasche is a gemologist at Gray & Davis, and spends her days researching old jewelry and searching for fabulous vintage engagement rings (yes, she knows she’s lucky). She thinks looking at jewelry should be fun, not intimidating, and encourages anyone with an interest in antique gems to get on up to the diamond district and visit the shop!  Anna also writes the “Ask a Jeweler” column for The Hairpin, and is co-founder of the Society for the Advancement of Social Studies.  

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Jewelry has been an important part of human culture since time immemorial. An understanding of the aesthetics, ethos and technology surrounding antique jewelry can provide surprising insights to the greater history of the world. Or perhaps you’d just like to understand the difference between carats and karats.

This class will explore the history of jewelry, focusing on pieces produced in the Western World c.1700 – WWII, as well as some of the ancient jewels that provided inspiration for later pieces. Learn the basic terminologies of precious metals, gemstones (diamonds especially!) and stylistic eras.

Whether you are thinking of starting your own little collection, planning on making a big purchase or like looking at lots of pictures of old, beautiful things, this class is sure to set you on the right path. 


This class is presented in partnership with Gray & Davis. Gray & Davis has been a fixture in New York City’s Diamond District for more than a decade, offering a carefully curated selection of bridal jewelry and antique collector’s pieces from the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras.

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