How to recognize Victorian jewels (maybe you have one in the drawer): they can have a very high value ♦
The jewels of the mid-nineteenth century, if of Anglo-Saxon origin, are defined as Victorian. Maybe you have them at home and you do not know it. Better to know them, then. The Victorian era of British history, that is, the reign of Queen Victoria, starts on 20 June 1837 and continues until the death of the sovereign, on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, improvement of economic conditions and development for the jewelery. From the jewelry standpoint, the Victorian period is divided into two parts. The first begins immediately after the Late Georgian period and goes as far as the American Civil War, ie between 1837 and 1860.
The second part arrives until the beginning of the new century, the twentieth century.
The first period was characterized by the romantic era, in which the link with nature and human feeling was central. Romanticism, as well as music, art and literature, also involves jewelery. For example, in the miniatures, which Queen Victoria also loved a lot. Or the medallions, which perhaps contained a lock of hair (Queen Victoria had one with those of Prince Albert). Moreover, the goldsmith’s workshop discovered the electroplating, which allowed the gold to be plated. In this way even those who could not afford a solid gold jewel had the opportunity to buy one plated.
The jewels of this period, however, were handmade. The stylistic motifs of this period were often inspired by nature: flowers, leaves, ivy, but also snakes, were often used as symbols of a deeper concept. For example, ivy symbolizes marriage and friendship. Snakes, instead, indicate wisdom. Another recurrent motif was that of the joined hands: they signify friendship and eternal love. Pearls, on the other hand, wanted to allude to tears. And the green emeralds symbolized hope.
The shape of the jewels. The jewelers made pieces that had to adapt to fashion, yesterday and today. The necklines were banned: few and short, then, the necklaces. They were often combined with a medallion, sometimes engraved with writings or poems. The cameo, especially in Italy, was a very appreciated type of jewelry. The big brooches, worn on clothes, in the middle of the neck, are much more fashionable. In the middle of the century the hairstyles with long curls have given way to hairstyles with the central parting. A style that left the ears uncovered and led to a revaluation worthy earrings, usually pendants. Bracelets and bracelets were very large, often with hinged clasps and made of laminated gold.
Gold and stones. Diamonds, emeralds and rubies were appreciated, but the cut was often much more crude: there were no machines with the precision of those of today. Even the quality of the gems was on average much lower. For diamonds, the “old miners” cut was popular, used for Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian jewels. It was a popular design in the nineteenth century, replaced in the twentieth century by a brilliant cut. Coral, pearls, garnets, pink and turquoise topazes were also used. The so-called acrostic rings were very fashionable, with many different stones, whose initials formed the English word dearest (carissima): diamond, emerald (emerald), amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz. The gold was hardly pink and the yellow one usually had a high number of carats. Cosimo Muzzano