Beverly R Blog

Antique Victorian Jewelry
The accession to the throne of the eighteen year old Queen Victoria in 1837 marked the beginning of a new era. There were three main fashion periods, but the queen herself, and her own personal tastes in both fashion and antique jewelry in the first part of her reign were very influential, and new antique jewelry design shifted for a time to London rather than Paris, which had always been the hub for antique jewelry fashions. This first period for antique jewelry was known as the Romantic movement, with natural motifs very much evident in the design of antique jewelry from this time period. 1 Even though the decade of the 1840's was a period of extraordinary innovation and upheaval, it was still very much a man's world, and the subservient position of women in society did not significantly change. Quietness and delicacy were two of the most admired female qualities. Pallor was de riguer matched in antique fashion by unprecedented prudery, instigated by Queen Victoria herself. Women covered themselves as never before from head to foot, with bonnets and long wide skirts. It was only in evening gowns that it was deemed fitting for women to reveal the pallor of their skin. With the high collars, and long lacy cuffs, the main form of antique jewelry worn was the brooch, or as they called them in the antique Victorian period 'bodice ornaments' very often with antique en pampille decorations. At Beverley R Jewelry here in Chicago I have pictured four items of our antique and vintage brooch stock which highlight this early Victorian period. The first picture is of an Eighteen Karat gold antique brooch with cannetille work set with Amethyst, and at this early Antique time period would have been worn high just below the neckline. This piece dates to circa 1835-40. 2 Also pictured is an antique cameo pin in a simple gold frame, the antique cameo brooch was also very popular at this time period, and this particular one is carved out of one piece of white/grey agate. It again would have been worn high on the collar just below the neckline. Circa 1845-50 3 The next antique Victorian brooch pictured is of diamonds set in a silver on gold mount, with two chains of diamond drops from a 'cornucopia' design. The chains of diamond drops are those set en pampille and were meant to represent little drops of rain or dew hanging down. Circa 1850-60. 4 The last antique brooch pictured from this time period is an antique diamond feather, set 'en tremblant'  Fauna and flora were also very popular in influencing antique designs from this period. This feather is influenced by those of the Peacock and has a large Sapphire at the top. The antique en tremblant setting means that the brooch is set on a spring, so it shimmers as the wearer walks along, and was meant to be naturalistic, with movement from the blowing wind. This style of antique brooch could either be worn high below the neck, or to the left or right nearer the shoulder. 5 Brooches have not been in fashion in recent times, though they are starting to make a comeback in contemporary fashion. They are to me one of the most underrated pieces of jewelry, because they can really bring some sparkle to most outfits, and really bring 'that little black number' alive. Here at Beverley R we have a large selection of brooches and pins not just from this early Antique Victorian Period, but also from the Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro period. All very wearable, of high quality, and quite unique. For those of you ladies who want to stand out from the crowd, and have a piece of antique jewelry that no one else has. You should come and visit us here in Chicago at Beverley R for fine antique and period jewelry. In the next blog we will look at the Antique Jewelry from some of the later stages in Queen Victoria reign.