The Victorian era of jewelry takes place between 1835 and 1890, when Queen Victoria reigned England. The era is divided by three periods and influenced by her life, cultural and historical events, as well as technological innovations.
The Early Victorian Era, also known as the Romantic Period, started in 1837. This period signifies the young queen’s early life with her husband Albert. Jewelry contained serpents and snakes (symbols of love) and Gothic symbols. Sometimes pieces contained secret compartments. Flower motifs, big bracelets and even hair work were also in fashion.
The Mid Victorian Era, also called the Grand Period, began in 1861, and marked the death of Queen Victoria’s husband. This period is known for heavier and more somber jewelry to mourn his death. Jet, (a fossilized coal), black glass, black onyx, skulls and other dark symbols, as well as hair were used. Because of the industrial revolution and its technological innovations, jewelers were now able to mass produce jewelry. This lowered prices and jewelry became accessible to more and more people. Increased travel resulted in a surge of souvenir jewelry. For instance, English travelers began returning with cameo jewelry from Italy.
The Late Victorian Era, also known as the Aesthetic Period started in 1880. As a response to the somber jewelry of the Grand period, people were gravitating to brighter gemstones like diamonds and sapphires. These shimmering treasures also became more popular because of the arrival of electric lighting. Motifs used during this time were animal themes, birds, insects, butterflies, dragons as well as star and crescent symbols.
William Noble is the premier buyer and seller of estate jewelry in the Southwest. Established in 1983, it is the longest standing merchant in the historic Highland Park Village, located in Dallas, Texas.