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Victorian Jewellery

Victorian Jewellery


Jewellery reflects every form of decoration, taste and circumstances of period. The age of Queen Victoria increasing the reign of prosperity in progress, it was accordingly to be expected that during such a time a great quantity of jewellery should be made and worn that jewellery should as never before, subject to rapid changes in fashion and that the consequent variety of styles should appeal to a competitive society in which new wealthy families were constantly arising all convinced that the latest thing must be the best.

The end of the century jewellery was regarded as an essential part of the dress of women of the upper and middle classes. Coral, ivory and semi-precious materials were they considered, suitable for morning wear, but gold and precious stones were to for more formal dress.

Mr. Quentin Bell has pointed out that fashionable change take place only is a society which itself is changing and in which more than one class can afford the luxury of sumptuous dress. These conditions were fulfilled in Victorian England and consequently new styles of jewellery were quickly adopted by the upper and middle classes. As a result, the production of jewellery was divided into two parts during this era.

  1. Primary Jewellery – Precious Stones and Precious Metals.
  2. Secondary Jewellery – All Semi Precious Ornaments

Today’s costume jewellery is equivalent to the ancient jewellery of novelty. But this type ofjewellery is quickly out of fashion.

Another type of ornament during the Victorians is Folk Jewellery in traditional designs, which was very popular and the fashion was largely brought about by the Queen’s fondness for Scotland.


Queen Victoria came to the throne during the full flowering of the Romantic moment.

The French designers spread to England. Philips, most renowned of the English mid-century designers named Robert Philips, was certainly affected by their work. It also showed the tendency to return to the middle Ages.

Serpent was another motif from the world which was very popular with the romantics. In her first council meeting, Victoria wore a serpent bracelet and a serpent ring. In 19th century during the days of Romans early Victorian and serpents are particularly very charming with emeralds. Though serpents have been used for rings and bracelets. Since the days of the Romans and continued to be used throughout the nineteenth century. These early Victorian serpents are particularly charming.

North African & Assyrian are the other two influences on the jewellery of the period. The favorite shape for a brooch is Algerian and for the hair Peigne d Alger was fashionable.

Victoria worn much of the coral jewellery which was came from Naples or Genoa but one English Jeweller was famous for his work in coral. For giving more massive effect in the jewellery Cabochon stones were used. Sometimes in conjunction with rains or waterfalls as in the corsage ornament and sometimes simply framed with pearls or diamonds.

There are two kinds of Cameos, the first being Gem Cameos in which a design is cut in relief on a stone, and the second being their imitations, carried on shells or cut or moulded in glass or paste. They had three periods of great popularity in classical times, in the Renaissance and in the late eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries. Queen Victoria was found of Cameo Jewellery and her approval helped to preserve its popularity during her reign.


In 60’s & 70’s, Victorian Jewellery highly coloured stones worn. From 1860, there is a great change in jewellery. In comparison, with early Victorian women, Mid-Victorian women were emerging into fields of business and politics.

Rather than to create designs, we find most notably influence of Greek ornament in primary jewellery. We find a tremendous increase in the amount of imitation jewellery during secondary jewellery.

These accurate reproductions from the ancient world had a tremendous appeal for Mid-Victorian women who were seriously sort gave pleasure. We believe as much for their accuracy as for their beauty.

The interest of the fashionable gold will be spread less Etruscan and in Greek. Indian jewellery and its imitations became fashionable, when Queen assumed the title of Empress of India.

In 1879, Mrs.Haweis, who establish jewellery produced by machine, became so popular. Many women imagine that twenty machine made lockets in her jewellery.

The most transient was the Benoitan chain worn during the years 1865 – 70. This belongs really more to a discussion of costume than of jewellery for it was a chain worn in a particular way. It hung from the bonnet over the bosom instead of simply encircling the neck.

Only one point remains to the mentioned the short but intense fashion for amber necklaces which lasted from about 1878 to 1883. The vogue was a part of the Esthetic movement, which caused young ladies to sigh for the Middle Ages to wear straight gowns when the fashion was for ruffles and curves to trim their collars with yellowed lots of lace and as a crowning touch to wear a long string of amber beads.


The Aesthetic period (Late Victorian Period) in jewellery came at a time of reaction against what had gone before in this changing world women were still trying to improve their position. They continued to work actively in politics in 1885. They founded the prim rose league. They redoubled their efforts to secure the right to vote.

The jewellery worn during these years, we should expect considerable difference from the style of the grand period. Aside from the revolution in taste, there was a change in the attitude of women towards the wearing of jewellery. In the Eighties to wear diamonds in the daytime was the height of bad taste.

The secondary jewellery showed the same fondness for the heart and the same appearance of fragility. Thin gold wires formed small open work pendants.

The jewellery of this period presents an appearance that can hardly be called Victorian. It seems to show a complete break with what had gone before and it certainly represents the beginning of Edwardian jewellery.

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