Posts related to ‘jewelry curiosities’, paying especial attention to the Victorian era.
Archive for the Jewelry curiosities by Decimononic Category
We have previously spoken about the artistic use of natural motifs during the Victorian era (let’s remember this short blog post about flora and fauna in Victorian jewelry featuring an astonishing hummingbird brooch, for example). Artists in general and goldsmiths in particular benefited from this, leaving an amazing legacy behind.
In addition to this trend, the influence of Scottish design was evident during the Romantic Period (1837-1860). In fact, Queen Victoria herself was proud of her Scottish ancestry and some traditional Scottish jewelry pieces became all the rage. Without hesitation, this brooch that incorporates the talon of a game bird set in gold and adorned with gems is an outstanding example of the convergence of these trends in the field of jewelry.
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.
The Google crew has used today’s Doodle to remind us of the 166th anniversay of Mr. Peter-Carl Fabergé birth. As you probably know, he was a renowned Russian artist-jeweller born in Saint Petersburg. The Fabergé miniature eggs, manufactured from 1885 to 1917, became his most celebrated pieces due to its exquisite use of precious materials to design superb ornamented Easter eggs; however, the House of Fabergé, the largest jewelry business in Russia, made many more objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry.
The following year after the October Revolution the business was taken over by a committee of employees of the company, which was nationalised in 1918. Mr. Fabergé left Russia and never recovered from such a traumatic experience, dying in Switzerland in 1920.
This recap of the Fabergé exhibit that took place at R&R Bond Galleries gives a good insight about the Imperial Easter eggs:
There is no need to say that Mr. Fabergé is one of the most important jewelers of all times and an enormous source of inspiration for anyone who loves the beauty of craftmanship.
If you are interested in horological history, you should have heard about Waltham already.
Waltham is located in Massachusetts (USA) and it was a prototype for XIX century industrial city planning. Naturally Waltham was named ‘Watch City’ because it was related to the watch industry. Waltham Watch Company opened its factory in Waltham in 1854 and was the first company to make watches on an assembly line, producing more than 40 million watches, clocks and instruments until 1957.
At present The Watch City Festival takes place in the ‘Original Steampunk City’, as Waltham inhabitants call themselves.
Probably you will understand now why we could not help, but creating a pendant named ‘Ode to Waltham’.
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.