Snakes, hearts, hair bows (literally!), lockets, and critters of all sorts. If you’re ready to begin your antique jewelry collection, the Victorian era is a good place to start. We often think of the Victorians as stuffy and buttoned up, and, well, they were often buttoned (or corseted) up. But we’re here to tell you, they had all sorts of ways of expressing their unique styles (and emotions) often through jewelry—and they seemed to revel in doing so. Queen Victoria, an undisputed lover of jewelry, set many a trend.
Take a look below. With a little inspiration from both Victorian and Lang fashionistas, you can set your own trends.
How to Wear it Then & Now
Though often sporting a somber expression, Queen Victoria’s jewelry was anything but. In this photo, she is blinged out with, among other jewels, the stunning diamond Coronation Necklace and Earrings (which became heirlooms of the crown, passed down to succeeding monarchs), and with a bracelet bearing a photograph of her beloved Albert.
If, unlike the Queen, you’d rather reveal the photo of your sweetheart only when you choose to do so, a locket bracelet with a closed compartment is the perfect—and gorgeous—solution.
While the hair makes a strong statement on its own, there is always a place for jewelry. This fancily coiffed lady makes the most of a deep square neckline by gracing her décolletage with a cross pendant on a chunky chain, while circular drop earrings swing about her lobes.
Whether adorning a deep square or a deep V-neckline, 1880 or present day, an elegant cross is a trend-defying jewel.
Jewelry is like the perfect spice – it always compliments what’s already there.
Diane Von Furstenberg
Rain - Sales Assistant Extraordinaire
Just like clothing, I think good jewelry should have an element of movement to it. People aren’t stagnant, and what we wear should not be either. Like a great work of art, I can’t stop looking at this French Victorian star sapphire and diamond necklace. There is something reminiscently modern about its flowing openwork links, and the silvery-blue star sapphire pairs perfectly with the unmistakably Victorian oxidized silver. It’s truly an antique piece that moves through time with a contemporary personality. As we all know, great design is timeless!
Over my many quick trips descending from my desk to the depths of the Lang vault, one ring in particular always catches my eye among the rows of yellow gold rings in our Victorian case. At first glance, I’m drawn to its curvilinear lines and whimsical use of negative space. Upon closer inspection, I’ve realized the Victorian-style ring is in fact designed as a serpent, with a tiny pointed head and little rounded tail. I really like its thoughtfully placed twinkly stone clusters and vine-like serpent motif symbolizing eternal love. Those Victorians were so sentimental! I’d wear this as an everyday piece or out to a girls’ dinner in the city with my friends. Bonus: it looks amazing next to my own serpentine ring!
Tracey – Utterly Delightful Sales Associate
It’s important for me to feel that I can wear any of my jewelry on any given day. It’s no good sitting in a jewelry box and, if it’s a piece you can dress up or down, even better! I love Victorian-era jewelry for its romantic side, the history, and the symbolism of many of the pieces. In this bracelet, the cool tone of the dark bull’s eye agate — known as the survival stone — is complemented by bright moonstones symbolizing new beginnings. This bracelet just screams “Wear me!” Oh, the stories this bracelet could tell. I would pair this with so much of my wardrobe and it is just gorgeous with this Victorian bull’s eye agate necklace.
This ring, one of my favorites, has just a smidgen of a sinister undertone. So simple, yet intriguing in its design, two snakes–each topped with a different gemstone–symbolize two different people entwined together forever: a representation of eternal love. Who doesn’t like to wear their heart on their sleeve, I mean hand? But beware, the snake may strike!
Kate – Administrative Queen
To say I’m a person with a sartorial flair for drama might be a bit of an understatement. I do love a bold red lip, mixing and matching eclectic vintage styles, and I own more elaborate fancy dress costumes than comfy clothes. Victorian gothic melodrama is my ultimate weakness, though. These garnet and diamond drop earrings are serving major witchy vampire vibes. I love the crescent moons that sit atop these baubles, and I’m obsessed with the way the delicate fringe of the rose-cut diamond daggers moves. The old mine-cut diamonds that surround these earrings are absolutely lovely. But the true stars are the swoon-worthy blood-red pear-shaped cabochon garnets. They take my breath away.
Speaking of attention-getting jewels, this large Victorian brooch with its cascading diamonds is an absolute showstopper. I would wear this dazzler with a ballgown or a crisp black shirt and blazer. Pairing it with this diamond and ruby moi et toi ring adds extra sparkle and a bit of color.
Inspired? Shop our collection and add some Victorian verve to your unique style.
Shop at Lang
Victorian Garnet Granulated Earrings
A pair of faceted oval almandine garnets (4.50 carats total weight) cast a dusky claret-colored glow from within these consummate, fanciful Victorian ear drops…SHOP AT LANG
Victorian Turquoise Enamel and Seed Pearl Pendant
Beautifully beveled and embellished with a delightful array of dimensional textured details, this classic Victorian pendant gleams at its center with an oval do…SHOP AT LANG
Victorian Garnet and Enamel Bracelet
Consummate Victoriana in the striking color combination of dusky wine red and turquoise. This lithe and lovely, rare and ravishing wrist bauble, rendered in ric…SHOP AT LANG