Simple Guide To Victorian Jewelry

by Sasha t on Oct 07, 2020

Simple Guide To Victorian Jewelry - Jack Weir & Sons

Are you interested in Antique jewelry or would like to expand your collection? Consider learning more about Victorian jewelry. This era is the second oldest among popular antique jewelry and finding authentic Victorian pieces can be extremely difficult.

In This Blog Post You Will Learn:

  • Key characteristics 
  • Favorable stone cuts
  • Popular types of jewelry during the Victorian Period

Named after Queen Victoria, this era lasted through her reign in 1837-1900. Many events and revolutionary changes happened during that time. Industrial development, transportation, fashion, society, and jewelry all have been affected and improved. Just within 60 years, Europeans moved from riding horse carriages to driving automobiles and using electricity. Moreover, the middle class emerged and jewelry became more affordable, yet remained just as elaborate and beautiful. 

Key Characteristics

The arrival of the Industrial Revolution affected many industries, including jewelry. Opposite from the Georgian era, where everything was handmade, Victorian jewelers mostly used machinery to craft jewelry and to stamp the creator's hallmarks. 

Popular motifs included all kinds of animals, sporting symbols, stars, hearts, dragons, luck charms, Japanese, Egyptian, Roman, and Moorish motifs. No matter what your style is, Victorian jewelry has it all. Also, women became more independent and active, so they couldn’t wear heavy, extravagant jewelry anymore. Delicate, dainty rings, bracelets, and pins came of style instead. 

Popular gemstones at the time were: diamond, emerald, amethyst, amber, chrysoberyl, malachite, garnet, turquoise, pearls, coral, and quartz.

Favorable Stone Cuts Were: 

  • Cabochon: polished, round top, flat bottom. 
  • Rose Cut: oval or round shape with a domed top and flat bottom.
  • Old Mine Cut: a shape between round and square, featuring many facets.

Popular Types of Jewelry During the Victorian Period

Sentimental jewelry - became popular because of the courtship and the love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Young lovers and marriages were cherished, along with sentimental friendships and children, to always remember and be reminded of.




Acrostic Jewelry - the unique arrangement of gemstones in the setting, where the first letter of each gemstone spelled out a graceful word.



Slide and Long Guard Chains - both are decorative chains usually considerably long and made of gold. The slide chains are often accompanied by a slide accessory that features gemstones, cameos, or unique metalwork.

Mizpah and AEI Jewelry - Mizpah jewelry have the Hebrew word Mizpah emblazoned on them, which means “the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.” Similarly, AEI on jewelry meant Amity, Eternity, Infinity, which means - the love that I have for you will last through all eternity and into infinity. For now and forever.

The Bottom Line 

Queen Victoria passed away on January 22, 1901, yet her legacy lives on through the Victorian jewelry created during her 64-year reign. Her son, King Edward VII ascended the throne upon her death and reigned until he died in 1910. This era is considered “Edwardian'' in the jewelry industry. Authentic Victorian jewelry is extremely rare and hard to find these days and therefore very valuable. Keep in mind that the jewelry from this era is very sentimental and depicts love for a partner, a friend, a child, or a lost soul. These rare accessories would be the highlight of any collector's collection.

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