Thursday, July 2, 2009

Victorian Jewelry: Bar Pins

The reign of Queen Victoria in England covered the longest period of any modern British monarch -- from 1837 to 1901. The British Empire expanded dramatically in her time and reached the point of being the greatest power in the world, both militarily and economically.

Victorian jewelry was very reflective of the tastes and trends of the era, with the transitional Georgian designs of the early years, the expansive excesses of the middle years, the subdued elegance of the years of mourning after Prince Albert’s death and the elaborate jewelry of the industrial age of the late 1800s. The late-19th century also experienced three significant design trends: Aesthetic Movement, which presented art as a goal unto itself – Art for art’s sake --; Arts & Crafts Movement, which rebelled against the industrial revolution by emphasizing intricate, hand created designs; and Art Nouveau, which featured jewelry designs built around nature – butterflies, beautiful women and flowers.

There was a lot of symbolism in Victorian jewelry. How much jewelry a lady wore, as well and how she wore it, made a statement of both position and sentiment. Mourning jewelry, usually black in color and made of or containing hair of a loved one, were symbolic of the late Victorian period. Lover’s knots, DEAREST & DARLING pins, Love Tokens and Remembrance jewelry are just a handful of themes common at the time.In browsing through the many Victorian era photographs we have, I was drawn to the many different ways women of the late 1900s wore pins at the collar. These were there not just to hold the collar or scarf in place but also dress up the outfit. I saw cameos and brooches, picture pins and bar pins, and a chatelaine or two. Vintages has a nice selection of Victorian jewelry, and quite a few lovely bar pins, so I thought I would offer a small gallery of photos and pins for your enjoyment.For the most part, these are gold or gold-filled metal, some with lovely stones (both real gems and Victorian paste) and others with intricate designs of applied metal, etched or hand-chased motifs. Please click on any of the jewelry photos for more information. Enjoy!

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