The Bridgeton Effect
REWIND TO THE REGENCY PERIOD
To celebrate the recent launch of ‘Queen Charlotte’ A Bridgeton story we take a look at the indulgence of the Regency period.
THE REGENCY PERIOD
The Regency period is defined as the period from 1811 – 1820 which was in line with when George IV became Prince Regent and was subsequently crowned King in 1820.
Much like the Prince himself this era was defined by extravagance and opulence and this was reflected through the architecture and fashions & jewellery of the time. During this period ‘more is more’ was the mantra and that meant using the finest fabrics the most precious jewels and the most exotic scents to impress and moreover to make you the envy of your friends and aquaintences.
the appeal of the bridgeton series
Bridgeton with it’s social climbing, frivolity and flamboyance makes it a gripping and highly watchable series, that along with the fabulous cast and wonderful costumes it is truly a feast for the eyes and reflects perfectly the fashions and views of the time. Whilst loosely based on real life events and King George III, the Prince regents father it is more of a dramatisation of the goings on behind closed doors of the monarchy.
regency fashion and jewellery
Regency fashion was highly influenced by the Greeks and Romans, who were as we know highly indulgent and dressed as gods and goddesses with gold trims and borders and the finest fabrics.
Regency jewellery was all about show, so often the jewels were actually made using paste (which uses glass to emulate the sparkle and dazzle of jewels at a fraction of the price), really it was a form of early costume jewellery. This also enabled the wearer to have a more ‘devil may care’ attitude at a function; where expensive jewellery could be stolen or broken.
This was the birth of jewellery for all.
Also at this time there was a fascination in all things exotic and colour
the necklace is queen
The item of the day was the statement necklace this was used to show off the ladies decolletage which was very much on show with the deep necklines made fashionable by the empire line dress. With legs rarely being seen it was all about the upper body, the bust, neck and hair. So the jewellery you wore was designed to emphasise these areas and draw the eye upward to the face.
Regency necklaces were often cut glass (paste) wreath style in design a little larger than a choker but that would sit mid collar bone. During this time symbolism and meaning was also important to the wearer so there was popularity around charms, lockets and smaller pendent designs. Also ‘on trend’ during the Regency period was the pearl strand necklace, this was not the simple design that we often see today but an intricate design of different sizes and also mixed materials, often incorporating droplets fashioned to look like pearls.
Another design movement was around colour, inspired by the fascination with all things exotic, you would see a lot of coloured jewels and hand painted jewellery that would then compliment the dress.
Popular designs were gems and paste jewels set in a frame of smaller pearls.
This antique jewellery trend looks set to become popular again.