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Nov 08, 2016

Queen Victoria's Influence on Jewelry

In 1870, following the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, the queen requested a small diamond crown, which is one of the Crown Jewels still on display at the Tower of London. This request highlights the influence that Queen Victoria had and still has on the public, particularly in the realm of jewelry.

Queen Victoria jewelry came about precisely because of her celebrity. Although she didn’t even typically wear her personal favorites, anything she did wear was seen in public and associated with her. Many became fashion trends.  On her wedding day, she had on a simple wreath of orange blossoms and that inspired the fashion for bride’s headdresses going forward. Her bridal jewelry also included diamond necklaces and matching earrings, a staple in many areas.

Queen Victoria wore jewelry at balls and other entertainment events, each with significant meaning to her nine children or anniversary or other family events. For example, she wore a heart-shaped locket bracelet which had baby hair for her children. The bracelet consisted of nine gem stones, one for each child. She always wore jewelry that were gifts from Prince Albert. too. These types of sentimental jewelry became more popular and set fashion trends after shown in public.

Nowadays, Queen Victoria jewelry can be identified by its construction, technique and stile. First, many of the vintage jewelry was created with ‘pin and barrel’ construction, meaning that one piece is fastened into another piece when connected. They were also created mostly with silver and yellow gold, but also with ivory and jet and pearls, things that reflected romantic and higher class status. Queen Victoria influenced jewelry also are created by Cannetille, which involved twisting strings of gold and silver wire together (much like embroidery) and also through repousse, a technique that uses hammers and punchers to mold metal from the inside out, raising the platform to create unique shapes and edges.

Styles reflected Queen Victoria’s values as well. The sanctity of marriage, the love of sentimental events and the value of family. All of these attributes are reflected in lockets, gold bracelets and handmade brooches. Queen Victoria jewelry has a lasting influence, one that continues today.

Resources
(photo credit) https://royalexhibitions.co.uk/crown-jewels-2/royal-regalia/
http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/sites/default/files/V%20and%20A%20Art%20and%20Love%20(Gere).pdf

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