Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love Days: Victorian Romance.

As Queen Victoria ascended the throne of the expanding British Empire, the scarcity of diamonds and the high prices they demanded meant they remained the preserve of the upper and noble classes.

The 1870's however, changed everything. In South Africa, diamond mines began opening throughout the country thus increasing the diamond supply as well as decreasing their price. This saw jewellery design flourish as the burgeoning middle and working classes could now afford such luxuries.

To My Dearest...

Romanticism marked the Victorian era, highlighted through the works of Jane Austen - novels such as Pride and Prejudice. So it is no surprise that this sentiment should filter into jewellery design.

'Dearest' and 'Regard' rings seemed to epitomize the sentimental, with rings spelling out these words using the first letter of the stones name, (D=Diamond, E=Emerald, A=Amethyst, etc.)(A replica of a Victorian 'Dearest' Ring)

To My Betroved...

By the Victorian era, brides could expect two rings as part of the standard matrimonial tradition - a bejeweled engagement ring and a gold wedding band. The most popular engagement rings were the single stone rings flanked by diamonds. However, carved-detail half-hoop rings were also very popular (pictured left).

To My Eternal...

A revival of the serpent by the Victorians harked back to the Roman use of the snake as a symbol for eternity. With eyes of diamonds or rubies, these rings seem a somewhat sinister way to say 'I Love You'.

No comments: