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Victorian: social changes and a thriving arts scene

Victorian: social changes and a thriving arts scene

To appreciate the world of Victorian jewellery, it is important to understand the rich history behind this magnificent era. This period was known for its unprecedented social, political and industrial changes. These changes had a profound impact on the jewellery and fashion industry of the time.

A time of contrasts

The Victorian era lasted from 1837 to 1901. During this period, Queen Victoria headed the United Kingdom. It was a time of extreme contrasts, when the industrial revolution led to huge economic growth and technological advances. Only this time was also known for severe social inequality and poverty, which meant it was not an easy period for everyone to live in. During this period, art and culture flourished in response to the changing society. Romanticism, morality and patriotism were central to Victorian society. This reflected in all aspects of daily life, including fashion and jewellery.

Influence on jewellery production

During the Victorian era, there was a lot of creativity and innovation when it came to producing and designing jewellery. This was partly due to the emergence of new technologies and production methods, such as the introduction of electricity and mechanisation. These techniques made it possible to create complex and detailed designs with unprecedented precision and craftsmanship. Moreover, jewellers of this era were strongly influenced by various social and cultural developments of their time. Motifs often had romantic and sentimental themes. For instance, jewellery with symbols of love, friendship and mourning were very popular.

Techniques and materials

This Victorian jewellery was made using many different techniques and materials. This gave each piece of jewellery unique characteristics and exquisite beauty. Traditional precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver were used, these were very popular because of their durability and aesthetic appeal. Many different gemstones were also used in this jewellery, popular were diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, opals and pearls. These gemstones could really make jewellery look extra romantic.

Style evolution through the Victorian period

So during this period, jewellery underwent several evolutions in style and design, these changes were closely linked to the social and cultural trends of the time. For instance, the Victorian period was initially characterised by delicate and sophisticated designs, often decorated with floral motifs, pearls and filigree work. But as the period progressed, new styles and trends in jewellery art emerged, including the influence of Gothic revival movement and the rise of sentimental and symbolic jewellery. Gothic motifs such as crosses, chains and ornaments with Gothic arches and spires became increasingly popular. And sentimental jewellery, such as love buttons and mourning jewellery, took on an increasingly profound emotional meaning.

The heritage of Victorian jewellery

To this day, jewellery from the Victorian era is considered valuable heirlooms. This is because they capture the beauty, elegance and richness of this era. These beautiful works of art are tangible reminders of an era of romance, sophistication and social change. Wearing Victorian jewellery can help you accentuate your personal style, as well as make a connection to the past and the rich history of jewellery art. Whether it is an elegant pendant worn for special occasions or an antique brooch cherished as a precious heirloom, Victorian jewellery remains a timeless reminder of a bygone era of beauty and romance.

Queen Elizabeth ||

One royal woman who was known for her impressive collection of jewellery was Queen Elizabeth ||. Besides having a lot of jewellery, she loved many Victorian pieces. As one of the world's most iconic and longest-reigning monarchs, she regularly wore Victorian jewellery on important occasions during her long reign. These included state banquets, official receptions and royal ceremonies.

Her collection includes several tiaras, necklaces, brooches and earrings dating back to the Victorian era. These pieces are invaluable not only for their historical significance and craftsmanship, but also for the symbolism and prestige they represent as part of the royal heirlooms. Her elegant and timeless style, combined with the splendour of Victorian jewellery, contributes to her status as one of the world's most admired and respected leaders.

A word about all the characteristics of Victorian jewellery

  • Refined craftsmanship:Victorian jewellery is characterised by its outstanding craftsmanship, with delicate details and carefully executed designs.
  • Use of precious metals: Gold, silver and platinum were widely used in the making of Victorian jewellery because of their durability.
  • Gemstones and pearls: Victorian jewellery often included an array of gemstones and pearls. Thus, various gemstones such as; diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds and opals are used. These were mainly chosen for their beauty and symbolic significance.
  • Symbolic motifs: Jewellery from this era was often decorated with symbolic motifs such as flowers, hearts, crosses, snakes and chains. These motifs had deep emotional meaning and they often expressed a message.
  • Cameos and Intaglios: These techniques were very popular in these to engrave portraits in rings or pendants.
  • Emotional value: Victorian jewellery was often treasured as emotional keepsakes and heirlooms, these were therefore passed down from generation to generation because of their sentimental value.


Victorian jewellery, characteristic of the Victorian era (1837-1901), embraces refined craftsmanship, precious metals and gemstones, symbolic motifs, romance and Gothic influences. With their delicate details and emotional significance, they are cherished heirlooms. The jewellery bears the stamp of a time of contrasts, cultural flourishes and deep-rooted values and remains a timeless reminder of a bygone era of elegance and romance.

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