Jewellery In The Victorian Era, Part III

Jewellery In The Victorian Era, Part III

The development of delicate settings, highlights the beauty and importance of gemstones. The progression of rolled gold takes centre stage, igniting the power of expression and freedom of design in costume jewellery. Part three, explores ‘The Aesthetic Period’. 

Jewellery In The Victorian Era, Part II Reading Jewellery In The Victorian Era, Part III 3 minutes Next Amethyst: The Birthstone Of February


The Aesthetic Period 1885 - 1901

The Delicate Settings Shone a Spotlight on Gemstones, Empowering them to Convey the Shape, to Express the Form and to Render the Design.

The latter part of the Victorian era, pulled away from the heavy ties of the grand period and flourished forward with the delicate and lighter tones of the aesthetic period. In comparison, the application of metal was immensely reduced and utilised as a support for gemstones, rather than being the main focal point of jewellery design. Coincidentally, the economical use of lower proportions of gold (like 9ct ,12ct and 15ct), brought about the construction of stronger mounts, for gemstones to be situated in.

Unmarked, Tested as 15ct Yellow Gold Turquoise & Seed Pearl Heart Brooch.

Turquoise became the highlight of aesthetic jewels, frequently being interchanged and complemented with the use of seed pearls. The advancement of Old European Cut diamonds, shone under a new light (electricity). New and recurring motifs were: animal heads, bows, clovers, crowns, double hearts, fruit, horseshoes, knots, oak leaves, owls, quatrefoils and trefoils. Moreover, the previously mentioned emblems are also known to be embellished with: amethyst, aquamarine, chrysoberyl, chrysoprase, emerald, moonstone, opal, peridot, ruby and sapphire.

Rolled Gold, Costume Jewellery’s Solution to Freedom of Design and Expression

Rolled gold was another established material, that happened to preside over the entirety of the 19th Century. Since, the process of bonding a thin layer of gold to brass or copper, was licensed in 1817. The option of rolled gold, subsequently began to solve multiple solutions. The first solution was presented at the beginning of the Romantic period, when the supply of gold was limited, before being alleviated by the discovery of the gold mines in California. Therefore, this enabled jewellers to use less gold, without minimising the size and appearance of their designs.

15ct Yellow Gold Chrysoprase & Seed Pearl Double Heart Bar Brooch.

Furthermore, the rapid movement of the Industrial Revolution, accelerated the use of Rolled Gold, throughout the Grand and Aesthetic periods. The material gained new purpose, as it was more affordable than its counterparts and effectively dominated the market of costume jewellery.

The Triple Overlapping Period 

This specific time phase, happened to overlap two other periods: the Belle Époque and the Art Nouveau (also known as The New Art or Arts and Craft). One movement favoured a monochromatic, refined elegance, and the other rebelled against the mechanical production of jewellery and resorted back to handmade, curvaceous and colourful jewels.

Unmarked, tested as 15ct Yellow Gold 1897 Green Guilloché Heart & Seed Pearl Brooch.