A Matter of Brilliance is a professional jewelry appraisal company based in Newton, MA, founded by Aimee Berrent, Graduate Gemologist. Our appraisals can be used to:
Victorian jewelry is elegant, full of symbolism, and very collectible. The 80+ year Victorian era began with young Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837; it ended in 1901, with her death.
To quote Victoriana Magazine, “[she] LOVED jewelry. She designed it, wore it, and gave it as gifts through the rise of British Global Empire and the inception of the industrial revolution.”
Identifying Victorian jewelry
Queen Victoria was sentimental, and the jewelry she inspired focuses on sentimental subject matter. The new factories of the industrial revolution resulted in cast or stamped metal for settings and chains that could be made by machine instead of by hand. This gave a broad range of people the ability to wear jewelry, not just the upperclass.
Speaking of charm bracelets…
Well, we weren’t, but did you know that Queen Victoria popularized them? Seems she developed a tradition of having charms created so that she could give them as gifts to family and friends as New Year’s gifts.
It’s all about the symbols
This period is full of great romanticism. Designs are filled with floral designs, nature, and lacy filigree. Every image has a meaning: ivy means everlasting love, pearls represent tears, so they can indicate that a piece of jewelry is a mourning piece (very popular after Prince Albert’s death). And then there are the snakes… Albert gave Victoria an engagement ring with a snake, representing eternal love. Serpent jewelry inflamed the public’s interest.
Collecting Victorian jewelry
Since the jewelry in this era was often machine-made, you can find pieces for sale. However, there is a lot of reproduction jewelry out there. If you want to make sure you’re getting the real thing, be sure to have an expert look at it.
If I can help you evaluate your Victorian jewelry or any other heirlooms, watches, silver, or gemstones, let me know.