The many styles of Victorian jewellery presented in this volume are selected from the best collections in the United States and abroad, and shown here in specially commissioned, exclusive colour photographs. The photographs showcase the glorious colour and style of the rich variety of materials, including Scottish Agate, malachite, and granite, the amazingly modern niello, and the stark black beauty of Whitby jet.
For more than half a century, during the reign of Queen Victoria, England and Europe produced some of the most delightful flights of fancy that jewellery has ever taken. Long ignored because of the intrinsic worthlessness of its various materials, today these pieces are increasingly prized for their beauty and workmanship. Surprisingly, this period in jewellery-making did not follow the fussy, overly ornate style that characterised the Victorian era, but rather promoted bold, playful, romantic and modern styles. Some of the most unusual pieces were constructed with materials including hair, lava, coal iron, and aluminum. The text gives authoritative and fascinating historical context to the uses of these materials and designs. Many of the most sought-after pieces are made of silver, and popular designs include stars, anchors, hearts, bows and outstretched hands.