Victoriana and Antique Jewellery
Victoriana refers to objects and imagery referring to the Victorian period (1837 -1901)
Antique is defined by anything that is 100 years old or more, so this can refer to Victorian jewellery as well as Edwardian jewellery.
Queen Victoria in all her finery
Known for their elaborate and often ‘dark’ elements, Victoriana objects are highly desirable and collectable.
Most recognizable designs have a slight gothic feel to them and draw upon symbols such as the cross and other religious iconography. The Victorian period was strict in its morals and attitudes. The period also was personified by and named after Queen Victoria who spent a great deal of her life in eternal mourning for her late husband Alfred.
Jewellery of the time reflected all these design influences and popular jewels became jet and pearls (light and dark).
Jewellery design was also influenced by the ornate architecture of the time and all its grandeur. Think of buildings like The Royal Albert Hall (named after the Queen’s late husband) and also The Natural History Museum that were highly decorated and intricate in their design.
Incorporating fluid and curved lines along traditional straight lines. Iron gates became a real statement entrance to any home with their twisted forms and imposing size.
Dark jewels and dark colours were the main materials with deep rubies, jets, emeralds and sapphires being highly popular.
The imposing staircase at London's St Pancras Hotel designed by Gilbert Scott
THE DOWNTON ABBEY EFFECT
Set during the periods of 1912 – 1926, the post Edwardian era. The series has become a huge success and the influence of the costumes and the exquisite jewellery made waves through the population.
The jewellery whist remaining very ornate was lighter and a bit more frivolous than those worn in the Victorian period.
A lot of the pieces started to be inspired by nature rather than iconography and this was to be the prelude to the Art Nouveau and Arts and Craft eras. More fun and decadent designs started to emerge and influence the more relaxed fashions of the time, doing away with bustles and the very stiff corsetry that came before it. Women were starting their journey of liberation.