Victorian Jewelry

Unexplored Treasures

Release Date
Format Paperback 156 pages 10.25 x 9 inches 170 illustrations; 150 in full color
ISBN-13 978-0-78920-868-2

An authoritative and gorgeously illustrated survey of Victorian jewelry that focuses on the recently popularized “secondary” jewelry, characterized by bold, playful, romantic and modern designs.

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 jewelry 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 jewelry-making did not follow the fussy, overly ornate style that characterized 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.

The many styles of Victorian jewelry presented in this volume are selected from the best collections in the United States and abroad, and shown here in specially commissioned, exclusive color photographs. The photographs showcase the glorious color 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.

In tune with the current trend of mixing antique styles with modern fashion, the book places emphasis on wearable pieces that add a unique touch or timeless beauty to contemporary styles. These Victorian pieces are too delightful to gather dust in a drawer.

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