The Victorian Reign (1837-1901)

The reign of Queen Victoria saw many changes in the style of jewellery and as such historians divide the reign of Queen Victoria to three parts; the Early Victorian or "Romantic", the Middle Victorian or "Grand" and the Late Victorian or Aesthetic periods.

Victorian Era Jewellery

Victorian Jewellery Design

The Romantic period represented deep religious and emotional states, with many designs incorporating ideas around love and nostalgia, reflecting the new ruling Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Jewellery designs include hands, hearts, crosses and knots. Motifs inspired from nature were also common such as serpents and snakes along with birds, flowers and trees.

Serpent jewellery was considered a symbol of eternal love. Jewellery reflecting the form of a flower was often lavishly adorned with gold and gemstones including agate, amber, amethyst, diamonds emerald and Quartz.

In 1861, Prince Albert passed away and the American Civil War started. Both incidents brought an abrupt halt to the whimsical romance of the Early Victorian Period, so began the Grand Period (1861-1885) of the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria mourned her husband until her death in 1901.

However, her subjects buckled under the heavy gloom. By 1885, they eventually turned to the lighter jewellery and clothing styles of the Late Victorian Aesthetic Period.