The Victorian era was known for its extravagance, which is visible in some of the architecture they built. It is also apparent when you look at some of the jewellery the Victorians created. It was the height of colonial power across the world, and many people became much more affluent and wanted to find ways to express their opulence. Below are some of the strangest jewellery trends from the Victorian era, highlighting how extravagant these times were.
An Obsession With Insects
The Victorians grew to have an obsession with insects, and it shows in the many different types of insect jewellery they created. You can see a wide variety of insects in the different styles of jewellery they made, and they were intricate and ornate designs handmade by master craftsmen.
You could see beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, and many more adorning the women of this era, and before they created jewellery in this style, they wore the real thing. You could see women walking around with birds’ nests on their hats and real beetles pinned to their clothes. There was so much demand for real insects that supplies ran out, so instead of wearing real ones, they created realistic lifelike jewellery from gold, silver, and various precious gemstones. You can see examples of these in an established Sydney antique jewellery shop as well as in stores in other parts of the world, but the demand for these pieces these days aren’t as high as before and they’re mainly sought after by collectors.
The Eyes Of Their Lover
Another popular trend from the Victorian era had jewellery that they adorned with the eyes of their lovers, thankfully not their actual eyes. It was typical for intricate brooches or pendants to be made that would have an artist’s impression of their lover’s eyes, and this was made famous by Prince George of Wales. The prince fell in love with Maria Anne Fitzherbert, a widow and catholic, and with royal laws preventing someone of this faith from being on the throne, their love was forbidden. He sent her a parcel with a love letter to express his undying love for her. It also contained jewellery with a miniature portrait of his eyes. The two were married illegally, and the trend soon became popular in the Victorian era.
With the passing of Prince Albert in 1861, Queen Victoria entered a phase of mourning the husband she adored, and it is a phase she would continue until she died. She would often wear a gold locket that contained some of the prince’s hair, and she would also wear similar pieces with portraits of the two together. The trend soon became popular with the rest of the wealthy Victorian population, and you can see many examples of mourning jewellery from this era. Artisans started to weave the hair of loved ones into jewellery to wear, and you could see brooches, earrings, and wreaths that people would create to commemorate the passing of a loved one.
The Victorian era was a time of luxury and extravagance for high society people of this time. There are still plenty of examples you can see and buy in antique stores throughout the country that is highly sought after by collectors.