Victorian era jewelry spans nearly a century, from the early Victorian (romantic period) of 1837-1861 to the mid Victorian era (grand period) of 1861-1880. The late Victorian era dates from 1880 to 1900.
The Victorian era produced spectacular jewelry with the tone set by Queen Victoria in the early part of the century. Many women of the Victorian era were incurable romantics and simply adored jewelry. Snake jewelry, a symbol of everlasting love, was a motif that recured throughout the 19th century. Flowers, flora and fauna were also prominent in jewelry design. Brooches, pins, necklaces and rings, rendered with colorful gemstones, took on a three dimensional small yet realistic look.
Scottish jewelry gained in popularity when Queen Victoria purchased Balmoral in 1848. Agate was incorporated into Scottish motifs such as thistles, knives and swords.
Other popular jewelry and gemstones included hairwork jewelry, coral, mogul jewelry (such as tigers claws and teeth), revivalist jewelry and gold rush jewelry (gold quartz). Archelogical discoveries prompted jewelry styles from ancient and medieval cultures. Celtic, Egyptian, Etruscan, Mogul (India), Roman and Renaissance all became popular. Micro mosaic jewelry, tiny bits of glass or tesserae, are pieced together to form a picture.
Our collection from the Victorian era touches on many of the above styles and gemstones.