Victorian and Scottish Jewelry
Victorian, as an adjective, isn’t just defined by dates (1809 -1901) but relates to the influence of Queen Victoria on British culture and tradition during her reign.
Queen Victoria’s power and popularity coincided with the growth of print media, allowing her opinions and taste to serve as a role model for her subjects who followed the example she set in dress and jewelry and behavior. Queen Victoria identified with ordinary people and they in turn related to her and Prince Albert as they watched them through love, marriage, childbirth, death and mourning.
These milestone events were keenly observed by the British public through myriad portraits and photographs of Victoria and her public, leaving us a remarkable social history of 19th century British style in fashion and jewelry.
With the expansion of the railways, travel in Britain and the continent was an important component of changing styles and jewelry in particular reflected this. Cameos and mosaics were collected in Italy, ivory and wooden carvings in Germany and high design jewelry in Paris.
Scottish agate jewelry, produced mainly from 1860 -1900 became highly sought after Queen Victoria, mindful of her Scottish origins, had hard-stones from the North of Scotland polished and set in gold or silver in bracelets and brooches and wore them often. These ranged from simple to complex depending on the manufacturing process comprising lapidary, stone-setting and design.