Period - 1835 to 1890
Queen Victoria ascended the throne
in 1837, ruling Great Britain until her death in 1901.
As the first female monarch in over a century, Victoria
became the predominant trendsetter for women of her time.
In general, her reign was one of peace and prosperity.
The Industrial Revolution furthered rapid social and economic
change. A series of International Expositions begun in
1851 spread technological and stylistic innovations worldwide.
The emerging middle class created a new demand for jewelry,
which for the first time began to be made in large quantities
for the mass market.
Fashions were rather voluminous
throughout the period. Full skirts, long sleeves and lace
collars dominated the early decades. As women became more
active (in both work and leisure) towards the end of the
century, their dress became more tailored. Similarly,
jewelry reached massive proportions during the 1860s and
70s, but became lighter and more delicate in later years.
Victoria's romantic nature, love
for her husband and devotion to her children inspired
a profusion of sentimental motifs in jewelry, such as
hearts, bows, flowers, birds, and romantic sayings. Jewelry
made from the hair of a loved one (living or deceased)
was particularly popular.
Crescent Moon Brooch done in seed pearls and rose gold.
Semi-precious stones were used
to keep jewelry made for the mass market affordable. Especially
popular were garnet, amethyst, coral, turquoise, seed
pearls and opals (one of Victoria's favorite stones).
Gold became less expensive to work
with as new sources were discovered, and standards were
relaxed (after 1854, jewelry could be made in 9, 12 and
15K, rather than just 18K). Jewelers experimented with
techniques to change the look and texture of gold, like
granulation, chasing, engraving and filigree.
Large diamond deposits were discovered in 1867, greatly
increasing their accessiblity and affordability. Sparkling,
diamond-set jewelry became especially desirable after
the introduction of electric lighting in the 1880s.
Victorians' penchant for nature
and gardening is reflected in the motifs of their jewelry.
Particularly prevalent were flowers, considered highly
symbolic, and serpents (a favorite motif of Victoria's,
representing eternity, wisdom and good luck).
unexpected death of Victoria's husband Albert in 1861
sent her, and her entire nation, into mourning. Consequently,
jewelry of black enamel, jet and onyx was in high demand
during the latter part of the century.
ENGLISH 1890 VICTORIAN GOLD PLATED DOUBLE PHOTO PICTURE
LOCKET , 6 BEAUTIFUL PASTE STONES.
Victorian and Antique
Antique jewelry from this time
period contains antique diamonds such as rose cut, Old
Mine Cut, cushion cut and Old European Cut diamonds. It
was during this era that the Tiffany engagement ring setting
was introduced. Victorian jewelry is usually made of yellow
gold or rose gold, with colorful gemstones.
Antique jewelry from
the Victorian era is becoming scarce on the market. Necklaces,
earrings, bracelets, brooches and rings may still be found
at some antique and estate jewelry stores. The collectibility
of Victorian jewelry continues to increase with time.
Antique Victorian Cameo of the
Goddess Diana/Artemis c.1860-70
jewelry, prolific during the Victorian
era, has long been a favorite of antique jewelry lovers.
These older garnets may also be referred to as Bohemian
garnets because of their origin.
Bohemian garnets were set in both low and high karat gold,
and sometimes silver. Garnets used in antique jewelry
can be faceted or cabochon cut. Faceted Victorian garnets
are usually rose cut, which means they are faceted bluntly
compared to the sharp facets of today’s gemstones.
This form of faceting generally predates the Industrial
Revolution of the late 1800s.
have a deep, rich color in comparison to red garnets being
mined today, which oftentimes have a lighter tone and
a rusty hue. This is an important factor to keep in mind
when distinguishing true Victorian garnet jewelry from
later Victorian revival pieces. It’s also important
to remember that deep red garnets have been simulated
in costume jewelry through the decades in Victorian revival
pieces made with glass stones. More
information about Antique Bohemian Garnet Jewelry.