1837 – 1901
The personality of Queen Victoria dominated the style of the era that bears her name. Queen Victoria’s relationship with her husband, Albert, who died in 1861, defined much of the era’s views on marriage, relationships, jewelry, and fashion.
The beginning of the Victorian Era in 1837 also coincided with the beginning of the Romantic Movement. Which was a rediscovery of the Renaissance. In the making of jewelry, goldsmiths took inspiration from medieval and Renaissance models.
Natural motifs were popular especially serpents, flowers and hearts. Turquoise saw a huge spike in popularity. Acrostic rings spelling out romantic messages such as “Dearest” were a favorite.
Rings continued to be lover’s gifts. Wedding rings had huge symbolic meaning and were valued, which is why they were always inscribed with initials, posies and dates.
When Albert, Victoria’s husband died she lived the remainder of her life in mourning. Many of the rings of the period reflect a sense of mourning, featuring dark stones like black onyx paired with gold. In 1851, the country hosted the first ever World’s Fair in the Crystal Palace, inciting interest in architecture and city structures.
Settings & Materials
Typical Victorian settings are cluster, bezel, buttercup, and carved half hoop. Gold and black enamel were most popular. Diamond cuts found in jewelry of this time are rose, old mine, old european, and table cuts.