Victorian Jewelry – Romantic Period

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The Romantic Period 1837-1860

With the advent of photography, Queen Victoria was thrust further into the public eye displaying her every fashion choice and her love of jewelry.  She set trends with styles that became iconic to the era. Sentimental jewelry, symbolic and often whimsical jewels reflected the youth of Queen Victoria and her love for her husband Prince Albert.

Victorian Blog ImageInfluences/Advancements of the Era

The Industrial Revolution grows, the discovery of gold in California and Australia, and a growing middle class resulted in increased production of jewelry.

Notable Jewelers

Makers were not generally named during the Early Years of the Victorian era, however. Queen Victoria appointed Garrard as the first Crown Jeweler. They supplied her with jewelry and cared for the crown jewels. Some of Victoria’s most prized jewelry was designed for her by her husband.


Victorian Blog ImageGold

Prior to 1854, only 18K and 22K gold were the only gold standards allowed for jewelry making, so most jewelry was high karat, tri-color gold, and silver. After 1854 less expensive karat gold—9, 12, and 15 karat—was legalized.

Rolled Gold

A very thin gold sheet soldered to supporting base metal, using less gold. This resulted in the piece having the illusion of gold at a much more affordable price.

Gold Electroplate

Electroplating coats one metal with another through the use of a chemical bath and electric current. Another way to create lower-priced items with the look of gold.


An alloy of 83% copper and 17% zinc was formulated to imitate gold.


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Tortoiseshell Pique Pin.



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Techniques & Innovations

Victorian Blog ImageCollet Setting

These settings had open backs (developed in the 18th century but not widely used until the Victorian era) that allowed the transmission of light from the front to the back of a transparent gemstone.

Victorian Blog Image“C” Clasp

Brooch fasteners featured “C” catches and the pin extended beyond the body of the piece. 

Stamped Metal

Hand-operated presses (c.1852) could cut and stamp a jewelry design very quickly and at a reasonable cost. The era of costume jewelry was born.

Electroplated Metal

This invention caused a revolution in jewelry manufacturing, making it more cost-effective and faster. The result was a proliferation of popular designs for all levels of society.

Styles & Motifs

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Sentimental Jewelry

Mourning and sentimental jewelry flourished during the Romantic Period and included fabulously intricate jewelry woven completely out of hair. Lockets holding hair or photos of loved ones were very popular.

Antique Holbeinesque Emerald and Natural Pearl Necklace.

Revival Jewelry

Themes from Gothic, Medieval, an Renaissance eras were popular.

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Scottish Jewelry

After the Queen and Prince Albert purchased their Balmoral estate in Scotland, she became enamored with Scottish design (usually created with colorful agate stones) which also were prevalent.

Victorian Turquoise Bow and Tassel Necklace.

Knots & Tassels

Knots and tassels were popular because of France’s presence in Algeria.

Shop at Lang

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