There is no need to say that dragonflies, salamanders and a variety of other flora and fauna was widely present in the Art Nouveau jewelry. However, these motifs were common in the Victorian jewelry as well: for example, the snake, a symbol of everlasting love, was a recurrent motif throughout the 19th century. Even tiger’s claws and teeth were used due to the influence of the Mogul jewelry.
This blog post was inspired by an astonishing brooch recently sold by Rowan & Rowan:
The Victorian fascination with jewellery in forms of flora and fauna extended to the use of fauna itself, as in the case in this brooch made from the head of a hummingbird. Hummingbird jewellery was exhibited at the London International Exhibition of 1872 by the the firms of Ward and Co. and A. Boucard : ‘Birds and insects have been utilised and treated as personal ornaments by A. Boucard. As specimens of beautiful colour one can scarcely see anything better than this.’ The hummingbird on this gold brooch has a typical gold beak added, scarlet head feathers and an iridescent amber throat. It is set to a gold bar with foliate and pearl decoration. The brooch is 5 cm [2 inches] long, the bird is 3.2 cm [ 1 and 1/4 inches] across and stands 2 cm [3/4 of an inch] high.
We want to thank Ms. Michelle Rowan from Rowan & Rowan for her kind permission to reproduce these contents. Original source: ‘REF 1467 Hummingbird Brooch’.