We have ben told recently that using watch parts to make jewelry is nothing original. Obviously we are aware of that, but our use of watch parts has nothing to do with ‘Etsy fashion’. Didn’t you know that victorians themselves did this? As a proof of our previous research:
The urge to cut-up and repurpose old watch parts into new artistic forms was something the Victorians appear to have been aware of in the 1880s. But although the results look very much like steampunk they appear to have been made as a direct result of changing times in the watch-making world rather than a desire to embrace a new aesthetic.
These cases however were only the exterior cover for the highly sophisticated piece of precision engineering inside and this mechanism also contained ornately engraved and artistically finished details. One stand-out feature was the ornate balance-cock attached to the back of the watch movement.
It was these balance cocks which were repurposed to make the necklaces, brooches and earrings in these photographs. While it is clear they weren’t targeted at the highest end of the fashion world, as the finished work is quite rough, they must have been reasonably popular because surviving examples are not rare.
We invite you to read the complete article in Powerhouse Museum’s website: ‘Victorian Steampunk Jewelry’ by Geoff Barker.