Queen Victoria loved jewelry. It’s a historical fact.
The so-called “Victorian Era”, named after the queen, is commonly considered to be the period between 1837-1901.
Queen Victoria in different clothing and jewelry throughout her life
This was an era of growth and strength, shaped by politics and by industrial revolution. The power and innovation in the air is reflected in the jewelry of the day in the most artistic way.
Queen Victoria inspired and requested much jewelry, even designing some pieces herself. This interest propelled the market into the forefront of art forms at the time.
Pieces like cameos became a staple, beautifully carved from shell, carnelian, agate and even lava rocks.
Charm bracelets rose in popularity during this time, likely from Queen Victoria’s own bracelet comprised of charms she had specially commissioned to give as gifts to loved ones.
With the world learning better and faster ways to produce items, chains and settings were easily crafted, sometimes mass produced, and made it more affordable for anyone to own a piece of jewelry. Victorian era jewelry often has intricate or unusual chains attached to the items as metalworking was boosted during the era.
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, died. The death shook the queen, and the world.
For the rest of her life, Victoria chose to wear mourning clothes of black, and her jewelry began to reflect the emotional time.
The world followed her trend and soon Victorian jewelry became a little heavier, a little darker. Materials like jet, a fossilized wood colored pitch black, became the most popular item to include in jewelry.
Typical Victorian mourning brooch, made from Jet (image right). Source: Wikipedia Commons
The entire era made jewelry into something more than simple decoration. It taught us to treasure these objects as tangible memories; charms to remember, cameos to capture time itself, designs to tug your senses.
Queen Victoria loved jewelry, not only for its beauty but for its legacy as well.