From the 21st century perspective, Victorian era may seem a time of good manners, adventure and discovery. But if we take a closer look, this period may become less bright… or even very obscure.
5.1.- The dehumanization of society
Most employment was to be found in the newly industrialized cities, so many people abandoned their rural roots and converged on the urbanized areas to seek work. Large numbers of both skilled and unskilled people were looking for work, so wages were low, barely above subsistence level.
London was not an exception, but the epitome of this situation. As depicted by Charles Dickens, families had to put children to work at an early age, or even turn them out onto the streets to fend for themselves; there were also numerous homeless, destitute children living on the streets of this city. Great wealth and extreme poverty lived side by side because the tenements, slums and rookeries were only stones thrown from the large elegant houses of the rich.
What to say about healthcare. Operations were horrific procedures until 19th century: most patients died from post-operative shock, infection or loss of blood. With protagonists like Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch or Florence Nightingale, this century gave birth to modern medicine, featuring anaesthesia and the development of both antiseptic and aseptic operating theatres among the most powerful new techniques. These advances supposed outstanding changes… for those who could afford them. There is no need to say that ordinary people were not so fortunate.
‘In London, in 1830, the average life span for middle to upper-class males was 44 years, 25 for tradesman and 22 for laborers. Fifty-seven of every 100 children in working class families were dead by five years of age’.
Source: A Victorian Obsession With Death
La fée verte (the green fairy) inspired artists such as Ernest Hemingway, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Aleister Crowley and Alfred Jarry. Drugs became both a blessing and a curse.
It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by, as it seems like only yesterday when we presented our Tempus Fugit Collection of artisan sterling silver cufflinks with vintage watch movements. This collection offered three different models taking three classical forms as point of departure: Alpha (round), Beta (rectangular) and Gamma (romboid).
Inspired by its success, we have decided to develop it with new elements: rings and earrings (yes, this Steampunk jewelry collection on steroids!). We wanted to keep the same spirit, looking for:
- Uncompromising quality: artisan sterling silver jewelry made using traditional silversmith techniques.
- Minimalistic and timeless design, perfect for both everyday use and to stand out in any special occasion.
- Steampunk inspiration with a touch of the past, retrieving these delightful silver-colored vintage watch movements.
Feel free to have a look at the complete Tempus Fugit Collection and tell us what you think about the result. Would you like to see any other kind of jewelry piece added to this collection? We will be most pleased to hear from you!
March is that time of year when the weather is beginning to get better, most of us are seeing a little more sunshine with those stunning azure blue skies. In just a few weeks we will see springtime in full swing with flowers in full bloom. It’s only right that so many people plan to get married over the next few months during ‘wedding season’.
From the month of May right the way through to October is known unofficially as wedding season in Western Europe. Are you planning to get hitched anytime soon? Will 2013 be the year that you and your significant other finally tie the knot? If so then you will have already begun preparations for your special day. Getting your wedding day just right is a number one priority for all couples. After all you will want to begin your married life in the best way possible-with the perfect wedding day!
We have seen some high profile weddings over the past few years both on and off screen – Bella and Edward in the movie Breaking Dawn Part One, serene and beautiful this was a wedding to capture the imagination. Then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge here in London, the theme was big and beautiful. These grand ceremonies that have inspired couples everywhere with their own wedding day preparations.
Victorian society was open to the occult and secret societies flourished. The Steampunk universe has not remained in the sidelines of this influence and it can be tracked in emblematic works such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O’Neill, publication of which began in 1999) or the movie ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (2009) with the appearance of the fictional Temple of the Four Orders, featuring the layered symbolism of imagery such as sphinxes, alchemical symbols, pentagrams, crosses…
4.1.- Occult Science
19th century was a period of renewed interest in magic, considering it the art of producing a desired effect or result through the use of techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural entities or the forces of nature. European colonialism put Westerners in contact with India and Egypt, re-introducing exotic beliefs and renewing interest in exotic spiritualities (Hindu and Egyptian mythology frequently feature in 19th century magical texts).
It is only very recently that I contacted Peter, Editor of Steampunker.ru, for the first time, due to the release of the 2012 compilation of our brief interviews’ series ‘Steampunk jewelry tonight with…’. After publishing a kind review of it at Steampunker.ru and realizing that I had used the word ‘Steampunkers’, he made me a very interesting question: is it correct the use of the word steampunker to refer to people? So here we go, a Russian and a Spanish discussing philological issues related to the English language (this could easily become a joke, couldn’t it?).
As we all know, the word steampunk was originated in the late 1980s as a tongue-in-cheek variant of cyberpunk. It seems to have been coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, who was looking for a general term for works by Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates, 1983); James Blaylock (Homunculus, 1986); and himself (Morlock Night, 1979, and Infernal Devices, 1987). This is, the term steampunk was originated as per linguistic analogy, replacing the root cyber by steam and keeping the sufix -punk. At present steampunk may be used both as noun (countable and uncountable; plural steampunks) and verb, with derivatives such as steampunkery, steampunkered, steampunkering, etc.