How to Spot A Georgian Fake by Nicholle Mogavero

Nicholle MNicholle Mogavero defined for the DCGIA members “What Georgian Jewelry Is and What It Is Not.”

Nicholle provided a wealth of knowledge on “How to Spot Authentic Georgian Jewelry and Georgian Fakes”  Check Nicholle out at The Jewelry Nerd on Facebook.

Georgian Jewelry

Georgian Jewelry1


Georgian Jewelry encompassed the reign of four (4) Kings named George and One King Named William from 1714-1839.


When Identifying Georgian Jewelry always consider:

Georgian Jewelry2


Motifs – used Birds, Feathers, Animals, Nature, People, Love and Bows



Georgian Jewelry3Common Gemstones – Diamonds, Emerald, Ruby, Chrysoberyl, Pink Topaz, Garnets, Aquamarine, Citrine, Amethyst, Pearls and Coral. Agates are also common gemstones in the Georgian Era, are highly collectible and can sell for thousands of dollars. Glass and hair were also common.

NOTE: Test all gemstones, as original gemstones are often missing then replaced with a similar gemstone. Much of what is being sold as Chrysoberyl may actually be Aquamarine or Green Beryl.

Common Materials – Cut Steel and Gold Sheet which was all hand fabricated with handmade connecting rings and bezels in small batches.



Things To Consider when looking at an item:

• Georgian jewelry is made from sheets of gold and hand fabricated. Signs of casting, should be a warning that this is a fake, beware.
• Gemstones were Rose and Flat Cuts set in air tight collet settings, which were individually handmade belzels. Gaps around the edges that aren’t from damage, are signs of a replaced gemstone or fake piece, beware of uniform gemstones and uniform bezel settings.
• You will not see many identical pieces. When you see the same design over and over, it’s most likely cast construction and they will be forgeries.
• Patina should be present unless it was polished off. Gold was alloyed with silver and lead so oxidation is expected. Inspect the oxidization, as normally it will be uneven or not uniform. If you see a piece with completely even or a matte finish, suspect a fake that has had the oxidation applied to look old.
• Old jewelry should show signs of wear. Edges are rubbed smooth in an old piece, so if it looks immaculate or has sharp edges, suspect a fake.
• Inspect the piece for Motif, Gemstones and Manufacturing. Abnormal characteristics in design or manufacture point to a fake. Remember it was handmade.
• The backs of Georgian jewelry often contain decorative hand engraving. If you see machine engraving or evidence of cast engraving – suspect a FAKE!
• Bubble Back or Closed Back while common, is no guarantee it is Georgian. Look for other clues, as closed back jewelry was common for the Victorian period and well into the 20th century.
• Many Georgian items will not have hallmarks, assay marks or maker’ marks. Assayer’s marks are found on wedding bands and some mourning bands contain makers marks from the mid-1700’s onward.

Georgian Jewelry4Key Elements of Spotting Fakes:
1. Improper Style or Motif for the period.
2. Gemstones that are all uniform in size, facets and shape.
3. Gemstones that were not common (or even discovered) during the period.
4. Hallmarks (with some exceptions).
5. Closed Backs, especial those showing casting as the manufacturing method.
6. Modern Jewelry Construction.
7. Multiple copies of an item.

Recommended Reading:
Georgian Jewellery – Ginny Reddington Dawes and Olivia Collings
Jewelry 1789-1910 – The International Era Volume I- Shirley Bury
In Death Lamented – Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewelry- Sarah Nehama
Rings: Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty – Diana Scarisbrick – Hayden Peters

Jewelry Nerd
And don’t forget Nicholle’s Blog The Jewelry Nerd

DCGIA thanks Nicholle for sharing her knowledge and experience with our chapter members.

Summary by Charles Marts
Photo by Teresa Tkacik

Slides provided by Nicholle Mogavero

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