The A-Z of Jewelry

The A-Z of Jewelry: V is for... Victorian

By Carol Elkins

V ictorian jewelry represents several different styles and traditions that resonate with a diversity of collectors today. From colorful kilt pins to diamond star-studded tiaras there is more to consider than the dark mourning jewels so often associated with the genre.

A Group of Kilt Pins and a Pendant. Sold for $13,750.

During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 to 1901) jewels were designed in wide array of motifs including symbols of religion, patriotism and hierarchy, but also inspired by forms from nature and past historical eras.

Archeological-Revival Gold and Enamel Bangle-Bracelet, Robert Phillips of Cockspur St, London, circa 1870. Sold for $13,750.

Cameos and engraved gems reached the height of popularity during the age of Queen Victoria. The below example by Mrs. Charlotte Newman stands up to works by other jewelers of the day, such as John Brogden and Phillips of Cockspur Street. Her internationally recognized work also signals the entry of women into what had been a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Gold, Sapphire, Enamel and Hardstone Cameo Pendant, Mrs. Newman. Sold for $12,500.

And diamonds weren’t just reserved for the upper echelons of society any longer. The discovery of diamond deposits in South Africa in the 1860s yielded more diamonds than had come out of India in two millennia. This meant that diamonds were more accessible than they had ever been.

Renaissance-Revival Gold, Natural Pearl, Enamel and Gem-Set Necklace, Carlo Giuliano. Sold for $65,625.

Carlo Giuliano, the Italian jeweler who trained in the Castellani workshop in Rome, moved to London and achieved great success with his Victorian English clientele by creating jewels in the Renaissance revival style. Cate Blanchett or Dame Judy Dench would be the perfect candidates to wear this on the red carpet today…


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