Art Nouveau Design Houses

Art Nouveau Design Houses

Here is an overview of four prominent Art Nouveau jewelry design houses:

LALIQUE, PARIS

1888 until present

Founded by Lalique, Rene (1860-1945)

Probably the most famous Art Nouveau Designer of all, Lalique’s jewelry designs are renowned for their delicate plique-à-jour enamel work and use of the female form.

Rene Lalique also sold designs to the great jewelry houses of Boucheron, Cartier and Verver.

 

KOCH, GERMANY 1879-1987
FOUNDED BY ROBERT AND LOUIS KOCH.

In 1883 Koch received the title of ‘Jeweler of the court’ and worked for European Royal families such as the Czar of Russia or the King of Italy.

VEVER, FRANCE, 1821 – PRESENT

Founded by Pierre Vever (1795 – 1853)

Known for fine, gem-set Art Nouveau jewelry and hair combs. One of Vever’s most famous designers was Eugene Grasset (1841-1917).

Henri Vever “La Bretonne” Pendant, circa 1900. Lang’s Jewelry University. 

FOUQUET, FRANCE, 1852-1936.

Founded by Alphonse Fouquet and taken over by his son, Georges Fouquet in 1895.

Known for naturalistic and sensuous Art Nouveau styles.

The company worked with the renowned artists and designers Charles Desrosiers, Alphonse Mucha and Etienne Tourette.

Fouquet Abalone Pearl and Plique-á-Jour Enamel Brooch with Chatelaine, 1901.
Photo Courtesy of Christie’s.

 

Sources / Further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalique

http://www.lalique.com/en?gclid=CPCusPvp-9ICFRdmGwod7lMFGQ

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plique-à-jour

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Myrtle Bridal Tiaras

Myrtle Bridal Tiaras

“A plant of immortality, myrtle was an emblem of love and desire; poets, especially love poets, were crowned with it, and doorposts were wreathed with myrtle in nuptial celebrations.” – Deirdre Larkin, The Art of Illumination. 

The tradition of wearing myrtle headpieces for weddings dates back to ancient times. Myrtle was revered by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews and myrtle wedding garlands were popular throughout medieval Europe. The practise experienced a renaissance during the Victorian and Edwardian eras with the Naturalistic Movements and, later, the Art Nouveau Movement. With the explosion in romanticism, finely crafted myrtle tiaras and corsages became an established and widespread tradition throughout Europe, particularly Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Myrtle has long been considered to be Aphrodite’s flower and a symbol of devoted love. It is also considered to be the chosen flower of Venus. The Three Graces are frequently depicted wearing myrtle flower crowns. The ancient Greeks and Romans bathed in myrtle scented waters, often when preparing for marriage. The ancient Hebrews associated myrtle with romantic love, procreation and marriage.

The sweet scent of myrtle is thought by many to be the very fragrance of romance itself.  It is a symbol of devotion and fidelity. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, myrtles’s simple and enduring meaning is ‘love and marriage’.  In English tradition, a marriage is said to always follow after the myrtle blooms. In Wales, the traditional gift for a bridesmaid was a sprig of myrtle.

 

Fabric Myrtle Tiaras

In Germany and Austria, delicately made waxed fabric myrtle and leaf garlands were the most frequent choice for weddings. Tiny green leaves, interspersed with delicate white flowers, are arranged by hand on a pliable wooden or waxed card framework. Here at Elder and Bloom, we refer to these treasures as ‘Woodland Garlands’. They are popular with brides wanting a bohemian, natural or outdoor woodland themed wedding whilst simultaneously honouring history.

 

Silver Myrtle Tiaras

The intricately made silver myrtle tiaras were worn to celebrate a couple’s 25th anniversary. (In Germany this was known as the ‘Silber Hochzeit’.) Usually these are made from a base metal or low karat silver alloy or sometimes silver plated brass or other alloy. More rarely, we will find one of these tiaras made from real 800 silver, sometimes stamped by the jeweller. They nearly always come with a matching boutonnière or corsage for the groom to wear. Sometimes they come with two corsages, one for the bride and one for the groom. Today, they are worn by discerning brides seeking meaning, rarity and beauty.

Golden Myrtle Tiaras

Golden versions, usually created from gilded base metal and sometimes from gilded 800 silver, are even rarer. These were worn for the fiftieth anniversary (in German, the Goldene Hochzeit), again with matching boutonnière for the groom. These create a stunning and remarkable accessory for a modern bride, with  additional depth of meaning as they were worn to celebrate truly enduring marriages.

 

Other Myrtle Tiaras

Other versions of myrtle tiaras were made from finely crafted silver or gold paper or possibly green paper leaves with delicately crafted white flowers. Wax versions were popular, especially in France. Sometimes, myrtle crowns can be found combined with a rose motif (another symbol of love and passion) or with a daisy motif (the daisy has long been associated with purity and innocence and is therefore appropriate for bridal wear). Just once, I was lucky enough to find a myrtle crown adorned with small gems.

 

Additional Information

Myrtle Crowns are often found framed with commemorative satin hearts, photos or gilded memorabilia, showing the dates and names of the wedding couple. At other times, they are found in small glass presentation domes on a quilted, satin base. Examples from the Art Deco era are sometimes found in hinged presentation boxes. Earlier examples can be found in round cardboard boxes, sometimes with the name of the original jewellers stamped on the bottom.

The earlier examples of these crowns were hand-wrought and the later versions were, although mass produced, still exquisitely crafted. These rare tiaras have proven very popular with contemporary brides and collectors drawn to the elegance, fineness and mystery. Valued for their heirloom qualities, they are sought after by those wanting to honour their European heritages. For a bride, they fulfil the requirement to wear something ‘old’ and create a talking point that fascinates their wedding guests.

I have been collecting and selling these exquisite pieces for many years. It brings me great joy to seek them out and then pass them on to enthusiastic customers. The beauty and craftsmanship of these historic pieces never ceases to amaze me.

To be put on the waiting list for the next available crown, please contact me at pippa@elderandbloom.com

Be sure to look through the ‘Galleries’ to see more examples of these crowns.

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Further reading / resources: 

http://www.nprberlin.de/term/pippa-anais-gaubert#stream/0

https://blog.etsy.com/en/short-stories-antique-german-wedding-tiara/

http://www.happinessisblog.com/happiness-is/2013/03/my-wedding-10-getting-ready.html

http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article008.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/kate-middleton-picks-flowers-with-special-125087

http://www.victoriana.com/victorianwedding/weddingbouquet.html

the three graces

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Key Jewellery Looks by Decade

Here is an overview of the key jewellery looks of the first six decades of the 20th century.

1900-1909

These years saw the continued explosion in the Art Nouveau Movement in all its forms. The styles evoked femininity, mystery, nature and were an homage to an imagined pre-industrial Eden of the past.

SEMIPRECIOUS STONES

Semiprecious stones such as opals, moonstones, turquoise, baroque pearls etc took a central place as the beauty of the piece was not necessarily defined by the agreed value of the materials.

ENAMEL WORK

Enamel work became prominent as the focus on artistry and craftsmanship dominated.

BIJOUTERIE

Bijouterie can be described as a piece valued for the delicacy of its design as opposed to the value of its materials. These more intricate pieces became prevalent as design took dominance over ostentatious displays.

NATURE THEMES

Nature themes were popular as people sought to connect with the simplicity and beauty of the pre-industrial era.

CELTIC MOTIFS

Celtic motifs were also popular as people romanticised  heritage and history in a rejection of the rapidly exploding modernity of the Western world.

THE FEMALE FORM

The  female form and visage became one of the eras most iconic motifs as a craving for femininity emerged as a response to the increasing mechanisation of society.

THE WHIPLASH MOTIF

The whiplash motif was a signature motif of this decade.

1910-1919

These years saw an emergence of elegance and a focus on gentile refinement. There was an emphasis on evening wear along with an adulation of aristocracy and nostalgia for the hey days of the fine royal courts of Europe, in particular Versailles.

THE LAVALIER

The lavalier became a popular item as the beauty of the décolleté was emphasised.

BANDEAUS AND AIGRETTES

Inspired by the natives of the New World,  bandeaus and aigrettes started to become popular (this fashion exploded in the 1920s)

BOWS AND SWAGS

Hearkening back to Rococo and Baroque design, bows and swags became recurrent motifs.

TIARAS AND HEADPIECES

Inspired by the glamorous royal courts of Europe, tiaras and headpieces became popular evening wear.

GARLAND NECKLACE

The garland necklace was popular as the beauty of the décolleté, neck and shoulder was focused upon.

COLLIERS DE CHIEN

Princess Alexander popularised this iconic style.

CAMEOS

The migration of many Italian cameo artists saw the popular emergence of cameos across Europe and the USA.

WHITE ON WHITE

White metals with white stones were the height of fashion with the emphasis on evening refinement and the desire to wear jewels that looked amazing by candle light (also inspired by the new vogue for luxury cruises.)

1920-1929

This decade saw the emergence of a new boyish and chic look.  Jewellery became streamlined, youthful, forward looking, minimalist, light and lean.

BANGLES AND CUFF BRACELETS

With the craze for dancing it was important to wear items with movement.

EGYPTIAN AND ETHNIC MOTIFS

The architectural discoveries of these years saw an emergence of revivalist motifs, as well as an idealisation for the styles of foreign lands as the European empires expanded.

FAN, CHEVRON, GEOMETRIC AND THE MACHINE AESTHETIC

With mechanisation and modernity there came an emphasis on machine-inspired designs.

VENETIAN GLASS AND CRYSTAL BEADS

As long sautoir necklaces became popular (perfectly for twirling while dancing), the artistry of venetian glass and the beauty of crystal was revered.

MACHINE CUT GEMSTONES

Gemstones were now cut by machine for the most part, rather than cut by hand.

TASSELS

There was a craze for tassel earrings and tassel necklaces and the movement they brought with them while dancing the latest dance crazes.

1930S

This decade brought the glamour and dram of the silent screen and black and white movies into the forefront of popular culture.

DIAMONDS

Diamonds became the most sought after gem, popularised by the silent screen actresses who wore them for their ability to sparkle on the screen.

STEPPED, CHEVRON AND CIRCLE MOTIFS

The continued fashion for modernism saw an emphasis on geometric, architectural and non-organic motifs.

FILIGREE SETTINGS

Filigree settings, particularly using white metals, became popular in this decade.

FLORAL MOTIFS

The simplicity and girlishness of floral motifs became prevalent.

DRESS CLIPS

Dress clips became the height of fashion

WHITE ON WHITE

The fashion for all white jewellery continued.

DIME STORE DECO

Dime stores sold inexpensive costume jewellery which made style available to everyone. These pieces became known as ‘dime store deco.’

COSTUME

The silver screen saw an emphasis on increasingly flashy costume pieces.

1940S

The austerity of the war years brought about a creative explosion in costume jewellery which made personal decor more accessible. It was not worn to display wealth but more as an expression of fun and levity, in contrast to the serious times.

RHINESTONES

Rhinestones became a popular and accessible stand-in for diamonds.

METAL AND WOOD

The scarcity of precious metals saw an explosion in creativity using readily available materials such as base metal and wood.

SURREALISM

The new surrealist art movements of Europe overlapped into the world of jewellery design.

PATRIOTIC PINS

It became de rigueur for every woman to wear a display of patriotism.

JELLY BELLY

These were pins with a rounded, polished lucite middle. Pioneered by Trifari in the 1930s but made popular by the head designer, Alfred Philippe, in the 1940s.

FLORAL MOTIFS

Floral motifs continued in popularity.

VERMEIL

Vermeil became popular as a replacement for solid gold.

STERLING SILVER

Sterling silver saw a surge in popularity as gold was less available.

BAKELITE AND OTHER PLASTICS

This decade saw a greater use of bakelite and other early plastics.

1950S

After the end of the Second World War, there was a return to the display of wealth. The love of sparkle and luxury returned with force but there was a retention of the fun and creative sensibilities of the previous decade.

FLORAL AND NATURAL THEMES

These motifs remained popular.

CHANDELIER EARRINGS

This glamorous style of earring became all the rage.

SCANDINAVIAN MODERN

The streamlined modernity of ‘Scandinavian Modern’ became sought after.

TEXTURED GOLD

Textured gold became fashionable.

BEADS AND PEARLS

GIs returning from Japan brought home strings of cultured pearls to their sweethearts and a string of pearls or other beads around the neck (usually in princess length) became standard.

FIGURATIVE BROOCHES

Artistry and fun was expressed through the fashion for figurative brooches.

COPPER JEWELLERY

Copper became a new innovative material to work with as a replacement for gold.

CHARM BRACELETS

Charm bracelets became an item every woman had to have.

PARURES

Perhaps as a symptom of nostalgia for the now long-gone Victoria era, parures (complete sets of matching jewellery) grew in popularity.

Further reading:

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/5/getting-clear-on-antique-and-vintage-eras-and-terms

https://www.elderandbloom.com/articles/2017/1/6/art-deco-motifs

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Aesthetic Period (1885-1901)

Sarah Bernhardt as Cléopatre. Circa 1899.

″Art for art’s sake,″ – Theophile Gautier

The Late Victorian era (1885-1901) is also referred to as the ‘Aesthetic Period’.  It was an era which was defined by its rejection of conservatism, of tradition and of all things repressive.  It was a time of great change in the world of art, fashion and design.  William Morris and The Arts and Crafts Movement (1894-1923)  became hugely influential and there was a revival of all things Medieval and fairy-tale like.  Art Nouveau (1890-1914)  began to emerge during this era.  Art Nouveau was truly a revolutionary design movement, perhaps the most radically new design movement there has ever been.  Japanese design emerged as an extremely strong influence, and there was a new design movement which is referred to as the ‘Aesthetic Movement’ which, in jewelry, is characterized by engraved birds, bamboo and minimal design, usually worked on silver.  Overall, there was an explosion of optimism, of creativity and of a new frivolity which, if it had existed previously, had been repressed and under the surface.

Brooch

England, c. 1900
Ashbee
Brooch, silver and gold with blister pearl, garnet and diamond
V&A Museum

Decorative hair ornamentation, particularly combs, were the order of the day, as these went with the new uplifted hairdos.  Women were now riding bicycles, so purses, glasses and watches were worn on long chains to keep the hands free. Whistle bracelets were also popular for ladies who rose bicycles, so they could summon help from a long distance.

Comb

England, c.1900
Wilson
Comb, silver, garnets
V&A Museum

In general, the taste in jewelry became much less ostentatious and diamonds and other showy gemstones were considered only appropriate for evening occasions.  During the day, women dressed and adorned themselves much more simply, youthfully and altogether with less fuss. Jewelry, when it was worn, became much lighter and smaller.  At the same time as this movement towards naturalness, there was a definite swing towards an emphasis of beauty over utilitarianism. Dresses were simpler and made with lighter fabric and would not support heavy jewels.  Stick pins, stud earrings and tiny chain purses became fashionable. The taste in colors shifted towards lighter and more pastel tones. Sensuality, femininity and subtlety were the prevalent flavors. Some popular motifs included shamrocks, hearts, stars and knots.  Bows were still popular. Novelty motifs were extremely popular, particularly birds and insects. A revival of Ancient Egyptian and traditional Indian jewelry styles also emerged.

A late 19th century tiger's eye quartz, diamond and onyx bee brooch

A late 19th century tiger’s eye quartz, diamond and onyx bee brooch
Christie’s Sale 6423

Brooch

England, c. 1890
Brooch, gold, enamel, ivory, citrine.
V&A Museum

Although Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau style jewelry were both very popular, there was still a broad taste for more conventional styles.  Diamonds, although not considered proper for day time wear, were still preferred for special evening occasions, particularly set in tiaras and rivières. Old mine cuts, cushion cuts and rose cut stones were the most frequently used. Stones were set with less metal and with more emphasis on the gem itself.  Platinum began to emerge as a popular metal.  Other gems apart from diamonds became more popular during the years of the Boer War (1899-1902). There was an emphasis on cabochon cut gems; opals, amethysts and emeralds were particularly popular.

A late 19th century diamond brooch  Diamond Brooch, Late Victorian, Christie’s

A Star Sapphire and Diamond Brooch, Late Victorian.

Christie’s Sale 6968

A late 19th century coral brooch and earring suite

A late 19th century coral brooch and earring suite
Christies, Lot 6704

Sources / further reading: http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Aesthetic_Period_1885-1901 http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/mar/26/aestheticism-exhibition-victoria-albert-museum http://www.silvermagpies.com/2011/07/20/vintage-silver-of-the-aesthetic-period/ http://suite101.com/article/va-exhibition—the-cult-of-beauty—the-aesthetic-movement-a362629

Pre-Raphaelite Paintings with Jewelry

In a previous post, I discussed Arts & Crafts Jewelry and the connection with the Pre-Raphaelite painters.  Here are some more beautiful Pre-Raphaelite paintings (or Pre-Raphaelite style) showing jewelry, much of it appearing to be Arts & Crafts jewelry.  I believe this is an excellent way of becoming familiar with the jewelry styles of the era. I enjoy looking carefully at each painting and attempting to identify what each model is wearing.

Frank Dicksee  – Passion 1892.

Frank Dicksee – Passion 1892.

Frank Dicksee (English Pre-Raphaelite Painter, 1853-1928) Young Woman with a Tiera

Frank Dicksee (English Pre-Raphaelite Painter, 1853-1928) Young Woman with a Tiara and bead necklace (possibly agate or jade).

Fazio's Mistress, 1863.D.G.Rossetti

Fazio’s Mistress, 1863.D.G.Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Blue Bower (1865)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Blue Bower (1865)

Charles Sillem Lidderdale (British artist, 1831-1895)

Charles Sillem Lidderdale (British artist, 1831-1895)

Pre-Raphaelite dress by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1886.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1886.

Bocca Baciata by Rossetti

Bocca Baciata by Rossetti

Marie Spartali Stillman

Violets, Sir James Dromgole Linton.

Violets, Sir James Dromgole Linton. 

The Kissed Mouth: Fifty Shades of Rossetti

The Kissed Mouth, Rossetti

Marie Spartali Stillman, self-portrait
The loving cup - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The loving cup – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1867

La Belle Isolde, Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys

La Belle Isolde, Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys

Marie Spartali Stillman, La Pensierosa

Chatelaines

This is a humorful cartoon from Punch magazine, 1849.  Chateline’s were not really used for children!

Two ladies, one holding a fan and the other a rose
18th century French
Both wearing Chatelaines
Painter unknown.

During Georgian and Victorian times, Chatelaines were considered an essential part of a married woman’s or head housekeeper’s outfit.  Since the medieval era, ladies who managed households very often wore one.  They were only known as chatelaines after 1830, before that they were known as an  ‘equipage’.

19th century ladies wearing ‘chatelaines’.
1787 print from ‘Le Magain’.  This lady is wearing two chatelaines.

Essentially, chatelaines were a decorative metal belt accessory which was worn at the waist, usually hung from a chain, from which household tools and practical items were hung.  These items, called accessoires, nearly always included keys and could also be such things as a watch, household seal, a scent bottle, a coin purse, a pencil, a locket, a notebook, a pair of scissors, a pincushion, thimble or a sewing needle and thread etc. These accessoires were held in containers called nécessaires or, sometimes, étui.

Chatelaine

Vienna, c 1760
Gold, enamel Chateline
V&A Museum

ChatelaineVienna, c. 1760

Gold, enamel chatelaines

V&A Museum

Chatelaine

c 1850, London.
Cut steel Chatelaine
V&A Museum

The chatelaine signified the lady’s status as manager of the household and signaled to the servants, if there were any, who was in charge. The word ‘chatelaine’ literally means in French ‘mistress of the castle’.  But it wasn’t always women who wore then, men did also, with appropriately masculine tools such as knifes and watches attached. Chatelaines could be made from gold, pinchbeck, silver or silver plate, gilt, copper, stamped metal or cut-steel.  Some could be very elaborate with much cannetille, applique and repouse work.  Mid 18th century models were often ornately embossed with Rococo scroll work.  Sometimes,  they had mother of pearl or agate panels. Enameled chatelaines, like this one, were less common.

Chatelaine

England, 1765-1775
Chatelaine with painted enamel on copper, with gilt-metal mounts and attachments
V&A Museum

Their role as either ornament or for practical use changed with the years. Towards the late Victorian era they were often worn more for decorative reasons or were even adapted for evening wear, with a place to keep dance cards and a fan.  They were even considered a normal part of ‘formal’ wear.  The general trend throughout the Victorian era was for chatelaines to become smaller.  The Art Journal reported the following in 1883: ‘…the long and inconvenient châtelaine, with it’s noisy toys, has shrunk to the dimensions of a watch-chain and swivel, worn at the lady’s waist so as to show outside her dress…’ Chatelaines were still worn as late as the Edwardian era.  However,  they became to be seen as increasingly old-fashioned and cumbersome until their use finally died out altogether.

Chatelaine

c.1875, England
Chatelaine, Iron embossed and chased
V&A Museum
You can already see the move towards a smaller style

What I find interesting about the chatelaine is how an item that was once so ubiquitous and so much part of the culture could be all but entirely forgotten in the modern day.  If someone from the Georgian or Victorian era knew that the chatelaine was no longer worn, it would almost be as strange to them as if we traveled into the future and found that the bracelet was no longer worn.  It seems as though the decline of the chatelaine is tied in with the movement towards a more youthful and less responsible culture as well as a more streamlined silhouette. Perhaps the desire to be respected, to be seen as a ‘matron’ and someone in charge of a household was replaced with the desire to be seen as carefree, unencumbered and young.  Regardless of the genuine reasons for the end of the chatelaine, they are still fascinating historic and artistic objects that are considered very collectible.

Chatelaine

London, c. 1755-1756
Chatelaine, gold cast embossed and chased.
V&A Museum

19th century advertisement for chatelaines.

Here is some 18th century verse about Chatelaines by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu:

Behold this equipage by MATHERS wrought
With fifty guineas (a great pen’orth!) bought!
See on the tooth-pick MARS and CUPID strive,
And both the struggling figures seem to liue.
Upon the bottom see the Queen’s bright face;
A myrtle foliage round the thimble case;
JOVE, JOVE himself does on the scissars shine,
The metal and the workmanship divine

In 1938, there was a brief attempt to bring back the Chatelaine as a brooch.
Sources / further reading:

The Language of Stones

Gem set ‘regard’ brooch, Early 19th century

Sotheby’s Lot 76, The Jewelry Collection of the Late Michael Wellby

Another lovely trend in the Georgian and Victorian eras was ‘acrostic’ jewelry. Acrostic jewelry was a beautifully subtle and poetic way of sending a sentimental message by way of the first letter of each stone, the first letter of which spelled out a word. Acrostic jewelry was a product of an era in love with poetry, when word play, coded messages and subtle verbal games fascinated the populace.

The simple yet intelligent designs of acrostic jewelry captured the imagination and made wonderful gifts for friends and lovers. Acrostic rings were particularly popular items and ‘Regards’ rings were even given as engagement rings during the Victorian era.  During the Georgian years, padlocks with keys or hearts were often worn as pendants or brooches.

Acrostic jewelry is believed to have first been invented in Paris in the 1809 by Jean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850), jeweler to the French aristocracy. The fashion soon took off also in England and America but remained especially popular in France.  It is said that fashionable French women even wore particular stones whose beginning letters corresponded to the names of the weeks. Empress Marie Louise had three acrostic bracelets made by the jewelers Chaumet with messages of love between herself and Napoleon.

It’s important, when you come across a piece of antique jewelry with an arrangement of colored stones, to question whether there is a message being conveyed by way of the names of the stones.  Sometimes, this might be quite difficult to interpret, especially if the piece comes from a non-English speaking country, so this is definitely something to be aware of. Also, certain stones have changed their names; for example the word for garnet used to be ‘vermeil’.

A few of the popular acrostic messages in jewelry were:

Dear

Diamond. Emerald. Amethyst or  Aquamarine.  Ruby.

Dearest

Diamond. Emerald. Amethyst or  Aquamarine.  Ruby. Emerald. Sapphire. Tourmaline.

Regards

Ruby. Emerald. Garnet. Amethyst. Diamond.

(The word ‘regards’ had a much deeper and more passionate meaning in times past than we ascribe to it today.)

Seed pearl and Gem set ‘regard’ brooch/ pendant, Early 19th Century
Sotheby’s Lot 74 The Jewelry Collection of the Late Michael Wellby

Je t’aime

Jet, Emerald, Topaz, Amethyst, Iolite, Malachite, Emerald.

Friend

Fluorite. Ruby. Indicolite. Emerald. Nephrite. Diamond.

Love

Lapis Luzuli. Opal. Vermeil. Emerald.

Pendant

England, c. 1830
Pendant, gold with lapis lazuli, glass in imitation of opal, garnet, emerald and gold.
Here, the pendant has the stones of Lapis Lazuli, glass in imitation of Opal, Vermeil ( the old name for garnet ) and Emerald which spell LOVE.
V&A Museum

Adore

Amethyst. Diamond. Opal. Ruby. Emerald.

Sources / resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrostic

http://www.jewelrymakingdaily.com/blogs/daily/archive/2012/08/08/the-language-of-gemstones-acrostic-jewelry-says-it-all-in-diamonds-rubies-emeralds-sapphires.aspx

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Regard_Ring

http://books.google.de/books?id=bmArl2_dDZwC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=acrostic+jewelry&source=bl&ots=qmd0HegA3z&sig=rOOLa0wSrOOtzgXo73ZoigxhZYQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xcMXUYLfBKeC4ATOo4GwDA&ved=0CHkQ6AEwDg#v=onepage&q=acrostic%20jewelry&f=false

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Louise,_Duchess_of_Parma

http://m.chaumet.com/collection/432/univers

The Grand Era – 1861-1880

File:Empress ellisabeth 1865.jpg

Empress Ellisabeth, by Franz Winterhalter, 1865

The mid-Victorian era 1861-1880 is also known as ‘The Grand Era’. 

The era began in 1861 with the death of Prince Albert, which plunged Queen Victoria into mourning for decades to come. Mourning jewelry became very fashionable and was mandatory in court.  Mourning attire became a formalized code and mourning itself became almost like a cult.  It seems there was a general obsession with darkness and grief, at least in mainstream Victorian culture.  Meanwhile, in the United States, the Civil War had begun, increasing the somber mood internationally. In 1865, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln truly deepened the world-wide fashion for mourning.  After the gaiety and youthful sensibilities of ‘The Romantic Era’, the culture now leaned towards somberness, formality and ostentation.

Of course, as always, along side the mainstream, there were other attitudes at play.  For every stereo-type we have of the ‘Grand-era’, the opposite was also true. Naturalism, which had become a formal movement in 1850, was still developing and flourishing behind the scenes.  The taste for nostalgia and mystery seemed stronger than ever. Whilst prudery and modesty were the order of the day, fashion created what is arguably the most exaggerated female form ever seen in history. With the new jewelry production methods, the taste for novelty could be satisfied with increasingly whimsical and fun motifs.  Although the mid-Victorians have a reputation for being repressed and patriarchal, creativity, femininity and sensuality flourished, along side the arts and invention.

File:Tissot lilacs 1875.jpg

The Bunch of Lilacs, 1875, James Tissot (1836-1902)
Notice the simple black ribbons she is wearing at her throat and wrist. Coupled with the colorful dress it is unlikely that this lady is in mourning; rather she is wearing the fashion for black accessories that was popular at that time.

Styles were altogether ‘larger’ during the Grand Era and the larger dresses with bustles, hoops and petticoats created a form which called for larger and bolder jewelry pieces.  Societal rank, age, occasion and dress determined what jewellery could be worn and when. One manual on etiquette said that pearls, diamonds and emeralds were for full evening wear only.

It was also an era of enormous changes on many levels. A revolution in costume jewelry (also known as ‘secondary jewelry’) happened during this period as machines were increasingly being used for jewelry production.   The rise of costume jewelry was economically fueled by a new law in England in  1870 that allowed women to keep their own earnings (and therefore spend it on jewelry). The taste for bigger and bolder designs could be satisfied as a result of the new machining methods. As a new middle class emerged, jewelry shifted towards more dispensable and affordable creations.  Although Empress Eugenie remained a constant style icon it seems that styles were changing at a much faster pace now, and new designs and reinventions of older designs seemed to emerge with each new season.

TECHNIQUES, MATERIALS AND TYPES

Gold and metal

Gilt metal was replaced by low karat gold and Doublé d’or (also called ‘rolled’ gold or ‘filled’ gold) for costume and lower-priced jewelry. Sheets of brass with a layer of this gold and filled with base metal could be machine stamped (die stamped) into any variety of shapes and sizes.  Pinchbeck was replaced by this new process and was no longer used. There was also a series of gold discoveries world-wide which made gold more affordable. These less expensive low karat and rolled gold pieces were rarely marked. Book chain was created with the new stamping machines.

Hollow work and enamel

The new stamping techniques allowed for the creation of pieces that were referred to as ‘hollow’ work.  Hollow work were often engraved and filled with black taille d’épargné enamel (or black-enamel tracery.)  Niello, a somewhat similar enamel technique, was also used.

Pearls

As seems to have been true in almost every era, pearls were highly valued and worn by the upper classes.

This lady below appears to be wearing a rope length string of pearls, doubled to create a princess and opera length.

File:Simmler Emilia Włodkowska.jpg

Portrait of Emilia Włodkowska, 1865 by Jozef Simmler

Gemstones

Diamonds were more plentiful since they had been discovered in South Africa in 1867 and there was more focus on the gemstone itself with less visible settings.  Diamonds were used alone or as a backdrop for colored stones. Tiffany, the largest jeweler in the United States, popularized blue sapphires and tourmalines. A very large deposit of Australian opals was mined in 1871 and the opal at last became popular. Garnets, sapphires, citrine and topaz were popular stones. Empress Eugenie loved emeralds and they became almost as valued as diamonds.

 Silver 

In the 1860s, silver was discovered in Nevada and suddenly pieces which had always been produced in gold were now often made in silver. Once again, the trend towards more affordable jewelry continued.

Pique

Pique reached a peak in 1860, with machine made pique emerging in 1872.

Coral

The craze for coral jewelry continued.  It was believed to promote health and well being and was still given to children to wear for protection.

Hair work

Hair work jewelry was also extremely popular.

MOTIFS AND INFLUENCES

Mourning

There were now rigid dress codes for mourning. Jet was, of course, the most common material used for mourning jewelry; according to many formal mourning attire codes, it was practically mandatory.  Less expensive alternatives to jet also flourished; these included black glass called French jet, vulcanite, (a hardened rubber), bog oak, (which although brown was still very dark,) gutta-percha, black onyx and black enamel. Many jewelry pieces from the era had serious and somber designs. Heavy and dark stones such as amethyst and garnet were frequently worn in mourning pieces. Tortoiseshell was also worn. Black accessories were not only worn by those in mourning, but also were worn as fashion statements.

Renaissance Revival

The Renaissance and Middle Ages Revival, which had begun in earnest in the 1850s, continued. A key figure of the the Neo-Renaissance style throughout this era was Carlo Giuliano. He embraced the Renaissance aesthetic and adapted its designs to suit the Victorian woman. Enamel work, colorful gemstones, pearls and fleur-de-lis links were common in Renaissance Revival styles.

Archeological Influences

With the trend for the wealthy to take a ‘Grand Tour’ of Italy, ancient and traditional Italian styles and techniques were at the peak of popularity. With all the new archeological discoveries, ancient influences abounded. Cameo experienced a revival.  Ancient mosaic techniques were popular. Ancient styles of all kinds, but particularly Etruscan, were very popular.  Egyptian motifs for earrings and brooches included lotus blossoms, scarabs, falcons and the heads of Pharaohs. The Italian goldsmith Castellani was the master of Etruscan and Egyptian jewelry.

Stars and astrological motifs

In the 1860s, stars were probably the most popular motif of all.

Insects and naturalistic motifs

Realistic insects included all manner of flies, beetles, wasps, dragonflies, butterflies, bees and spiders.  These were often set with multicolored gemstones and could be worn prolifically in unexpected places, such as on veils, hats, sleeves and shoulders. Mr. William d’Arfey in Curious Relations writes that in the late 1860s, ‘Bonnets and veils were covered with every kind of beetle; that at least was the beginning of the mode, but it soon extended itself from rose-beetles with their bronze and green carapaces to stag beetles… Parasols were liberally sprinkled with ticks, with grasshoppers, with woodlice. Veils were sown with earwigs, with cock-chafers, with hornets. Tulle scarves and veilings sometimes had on them artificial bed-bugs…’

Other naturalistic motifs included flowers, plants and birds.  The ‘language of flowers’ continued.

Garter and buckle motifs

The garter motif and the related buckle motif continued.

Serpent motif

The serpent motif continued.

Novelty motifs

Novel styles became more common during this period, such as this fashionable ‘manchette’ or cuff bracelet below. Fish, lizards, bells, birdcages, household tools such as hammers and other everyday objects were worn, often as dangling earrings.

Bracelet

England, c 1860
Gold with turquoise and pearls
‘Manchette’ or cuff bracelets became fashionable in France in the 1850s and 60s and then spread to England. In a letter to her daughter, the Princess Frederick William of Prussia, in 1861 Queen Victoria described a wedding anniversary gift of ‘a beautiful bracelet which he got at Coburg- from Gotha- a large elastic gold bracelet like a cuff – and so pretty’.
The gold on this bracelet is textured to look like cloth. A buttonhole and button are formed of the turquoise and pearl fashionable in the period.
V&A Museum

JEWELRY FORMS

Tiaras and Ferronieres and Hair ornamentation

Tiaras were revived in the Grand period.  In the 1860s, tiaras were designed as wreaths of gold leaves or gabled point with sloping sides.   Louis XVI styles with gemstone drops were popular.  In the 1870s, the Tiara Russe, a diamond spike motif that later developed into a radiating motif was introduced. Brooches were pinned in the hair.   Elaborate combs and bandeau were worn in the hair.

AN ANTIQUE DIAMOND DIADEM

England, c. 1880
Diamond Diadem.
Christie’s Sale 2306

AN ANTIQUE CAMEO AND ENAMEL DIADEM AND MATCHING BROOCH

c. 1860, CAMEO AND ENAMEL DIADEM AND MATCHING BROOCH
Christie’s Sale 3002

Parures

Parures (complete jewelry sets) often had Archaeological Revival themes.  Gold with enamel, garnets and other small gemstones, carved coral, cameos and tiger claws were popular.  Entire sets made with precious stones were rarer.  Demi-parures, with an adaptable brooch that could also be worn as a pendant and earrings that could also be worn as a choker were also in style.

DEMI-PARURE EMAIL ET DIAMANTS

France, c. 1860,
DEMI-PARURE with email and diamonds
Christie’s Sale 5624

Necklaces

Shorter necklaces, often with  flexible tubular links and with a hanging pendant or trio of pendants were worn.  The Léontine chain, (named for the actress) was popular; this was made of woven gold ribbon, with a watch hook on one end and a tassel on the other and was wrapped around the neck with the two ends joined by a slide in front.

Necklace

England, c. 1875
Gold cross set with pearls and lapis lazuli, hanging from flexible gold chain
V&A Museum

Rings

Wide gold bands were popular, often featuring a central star or claw set gem.  The  navette-shape (boat-set) with a trio of stones, as well as the cluster and half-hoop rings were popular. Gypsy-set rings, disguising a doublet stone or protecting a very valuable one were created around 1875. Snake rings with gem studded heads were still in fashion.  Mourning rings would be lined with hair or black enamel.

Ring

England, c. 1870.
Ring, gold set with a cabochon sapphire in a serrated collet and with applied ornament.
V&A Museum

Earrings

By the 1850s, ears had once again began to be shown although revealing the ears wasn’t completely normalized again until the 1860s.  Earrings were still only the ‘Shepherd’s Hook’ and the front closure kind.  Motifs included archaeological revival with gold amphorae and granulation, twisted wires and rosettes. Hoops, spheres, crosses, flowers,  drops, insects, stars and novelty motifs were favored.

Earrings

England, c. 1860
Earrings, diamonds, gold and silver
V&A Museum

Pendants

Pendants were probably the most popular type of necklace in the era. They could be suspended from strings of pearls, from chains or from ribbons. Enameled lozenge-shapes and Renaissance style gem-set cruciforms, often with chains which also had matching enameled plaques. Sentimental lockets containing locks of hair, daguerreotypes and other mementos were universal. Chased silver lockets made their first appearance in the late 1870s.  Lockets could also be gem-set or enameled and have monograms, stars, insects, buckles and serpents.

Pendant

England, c.1860.
Diamonds and silver pendant.
V&A Museum.

Brooches and Pins

In the 1860s, round or oval brooches with a central cabochon or enameled dome in a decorative setting were popular. Often, brooches doubled as pendants and therefore brooches began to be orientated vertically instead of horizontally. Roman mosaic, cameos and portrait miniatures were frequently worn in brooches, as well as Celtic and Scottish style brooches. Naturalistic bugs, hummingbirds, feathers and flowers, set en tremblant, were worn as well as stars. Sporting and horse-riding motif brooches with saddles, stirrups, balls, clubs and horseshoes were considered appropriate day-wear jewelry.

Brooch
Brooch, England c. 1850-1865
Citrine set in stamped gold
V&A Museum

Bracelets

Bracelets were made of gold curb, ship’s cable or flexible links.  They often made a decorative buckle or a central gem-set.   It was considered desirable to wear a lot of bracelets together; up to seven or either bracelets or bangles of different designs might be worn on each arm, often over gloves. Bangles were often wide bands with a motif, cameo, intaglio or plaque which could often be detached.  Gem pavéd bracelets were considered very desirable. Hinged bangle bracelets were also worn and are probably the item most associated with use of taille d’epergne enamelwork.

Bracelet

England, c.1875
Bracelet with brilliantand rose-cut diamonds and pearls set in gold with black enamel
V&A Museum

Sources / Resources:

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Grand_Period_1860-1885

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_jewelry#Mid-Victorian.2C_grand_jewelry_.281856.E2.80.931880.29

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/fine-jewelry/victorian-edwardian

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_fashion

http://www.beladora.com/2013/01/the-victorian-era/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1860s_in_fashion#Style_gallery_1865.E2.80.931866

http://books.google.de/books?id=GZfM2naZR4AC&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=garter+motif&source=bl&ots=wbwDlVBmDk&sig=SzIqVCccOviHmH_0O_aAylhVPes&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WGQWUcjCMaeu4AS_-oHoDw&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=garter%20motif&f=false

The Language of Flowers

“For the flowers have their angels… For there is a language of flowers. For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers. For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers.” – Christopher Smart,  c.1759

To the people of the 19th century, every plant and flower had a particular meaning; wearing a natural motif on a jewelry piece had deep significance. They really took the expression ‘say it with flowers’ to heart.  It has been said that sometimes secret messages were even conveyed to potential suitors by wearing a particular piece of jewelry and feelings that could not otherwise be expressed were communicated, although there is no specific evidence for this.  It seems unlikely, as these meanings were widely published and known so it would be hard to keep it secret from everyone else also.  However, giving a gift with a particular plant or flower would be sending a message to the recipient, generally of love or friendship.  What I find so moving and truly touching about the language of flowers, is that the Victorians felt there were so many different kinds of love, affection, friendship and nuance of feeling that our normal range of words were not enough; they required an entire symbolic vocabulary to say what they felt. To the Victorians, matters of the soul, romance and human emotion were central and love of the natural world was an integral part of their existence.

“Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her.”
― William Wordsworth

By the 1850s, naturalism could be genuinely called a movement in its own right. The movement could be said to have its roots in the 19th century fascination with botany and also the influence of Romantic poets such as Wordsworth. By the mid-century, the delicate and more naturalistic early jewelry designs had been replaced by more extravagant and glittery motifs of flowers and foliage. Flexible or coiled stalks called tremblers gave the effect of quivering and movement. These larger and more glamorous pieces were meant for grand occasions but could often be dismantled into separate, simpler parts.

Of course, not everyone agreed on which plants had which meaning and interpretations did vary according to time and place, but overall a pattern did emerge. Sadly, much of this beautiful symbolism has been lost to our memory, although the meaning still remains for us in flowers such as the rose, which everyone in our era knows signifies romantic love and the four-leaved clover, which we all know means good luck.

In this post I will illustrate some of the more common flower and plant motifs loved by the people of the 19th century and their generally agreed upon meaning; over time I will add more to this post as I find relevant pictures.  However, I am not going to list all of the separate meanings as there really are so many.  If you would like to know more I highly recommend that you look at ‘Language of Flowers by Kate Greenaway, 1846-1901.’  It’s a beautiful book and it lists hundreds of flowers and their meanings. There is a link to the read the entire book online in the sources at the bottom of the post. There are also two lovely French books if you read French.  The French loved the language of flowers as much as the English and it also was a form of communication loved by many other countries. What is interesting is that the French and the English seemed to more or less agree on the symbolic meanings.

Forget-me-not

True love.

The forget-me-not was one of the most important flowers to the Victorians.

Brooch

London, c. 1855 -1873 Gold, enamel, pearls and hair compartment in the back.
This sentimental brooch with forget-me-not motif would have had a great deal of meaning for the wearer.
V&A Museum

Acorn

Strength and longevity

Brooch

Paris, c. 1820-1840
Brooch with gold, diamonds and turquoises.
Forget-me-not, rose and acorn motif. The acorn symbolized strength and longevity.
V&A Museum

The convolvulus

 ‘Bonds’ or ‘Extinguished hopes’

Brooch - Convolvulus

England, c.1835-1850
Brooch with turquoises and pearls with convolvulus flowers
V&A Museum

Lily of the Valley

Return of happiness

A late Victorian diamond spray brooch

A late Victorian diamond spray brooch
Lily of the valley motif
Christie’s sale 5896

Daisy 

Youth, innocence, freshness.  Quite often seen in bridal wear.

196.1L

 

Sources / Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_of_flowers

http://www.literarycalligraphy.com/books/history.html

http://archive.org/details/languageofflower00gree

http://archive.org/details/flowerspersonif00gimbgoog

http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=mGsuAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://home.comcast.net/~bryant.katherine/flowers.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanakotoba

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Language_of_Flowers

The Romantic Era 1837-1860

Portrait of an Early Victorian Woman

Portrait of an Early Victorian Woman, unknown artist

The Early Victorian period of 1837-1860 is also known as ‘The Romantic Period’.

Greatly influenced by the idyllic marriage and courtship of Queen Victoria, the styles of this era reflected this romantic sensibility.  As in the Georgian era, sentiment, symbolism and meaning were still vitally important.  If the era could be defined in one word, it would be ‘feminine’.  Nostalgia for the Middle Ages abounded and Renaissance themes were popular.  Women took over men as the primary wearers of jewelry. Gems were now almost always worn opened backed (a jour).

Jewelry in the early part of this period was still handmade. However, in 1852 hand operated presses for stamping and cutting settings were developed and jewelry suddenly could be made less expensively. Some of this less expensive jewelry included gilt and glass gems.  Pinchbeck was still in use until the 1840s when it was replaced gradually with electroplating. The new use of electroplating, beginning in 1840, caused a new and sudden wave of costume jewelry, making it possible for people of all levels of wealth to wear styles which would have once only been for the upper classes. A new middle class was emerging in this era and the jewelry of the day catered to this market; in terms of jewelry it was a very dramatic shift.  1854 marked a big change for gold standards. Prior to 1854, hallmarking was allowed for 22 karat and 18 karat.  Tricolor gold and silver were also used.  After 1854, 9, 12 and 15 karat gold were legalized, in order to encourage international trade. Suddenly, jewelry could be worn by a shop assistant, a housewife or a Princess; the more rapid fluctuation in fashions reflected this new universality.

Generally, it was only considered appropriate for married women of a certain age to wear diamonds and gemstones.  Unmarried women were expected to wear mourning jewelry, chains, crosses and pearls.

A mid 19th century amethyst and diamond necklace

A mid 19th century amethyst and diamond necklace
Christie’s Sale 8127

Techniques, materials and types

Victorians on their ‘Grand Tour’ collected micro-mosaics and lava cameos from Italy. Cameos of all kinds were very popular.  Swiss enameled plaques also became popular. The craze for Scottish Jewelery was also begun by Queen Victoria in this period. Gold etching was popular.  Colorful gemstones and diamonds (with rose cut or early brilliant) were loved.

Coral was very much in fashion until around 1865.  Seed-pearls were extremely popular, particularly with flower motifs, and were often worn as bridal jewelry. Amethyst, topaz, turquoise, chalcedony, garnet and ruby were popular. Agate, onyx, glass, carnelian, emerald, amber, peridot, ruby, sapphire and pearls were loved. Bog oak, cut steel, ivory, tortoiseshell were also used.

Elaborate and fantastic pieces were created entirely out of human hairJet and French jet (made with glass) were also worn.

Motifs and Influences

Serpent jewelry was at its most popular in this era, due to Victoria’s engagement ring having this motif.  Snakes meant ‘eternity’.  Hearts, anchors and crosses were prevalent. Naturalistic themes were also strongly dominant and many pieces show motifs of flowers, leaves, berries, fruits and berries. The symbolism of flowers was very important to the Victorians and particular flowers motifs would be worn and given because of the meaning behind them.

Archeological digs uncovering ancient civilizations inspired a plethora of new ancient-inspired design in jewelry. Sir Austen Henry Laynard published Nineveh and its Remains in 1848.  Assyrian styles became popular, including the lotus flower which became a popular Victorian motif for at least the next forty years.  When the French conquered Algeria in 1830, Algerian influences began to influence European jewelry; festoons, cords, knots and tassels were common.

Acrostic jewelry was also worn. Roses, lilies, chrysanthemums and fuchsias were fashionable flowers. Sentimental and mourning jewelry was worn during this period (although mourning jewelry wasn’t to become a rage until the ‘Grand Era’ 1860 – 1885).

Symbolic Meaning of Motifs During Romantic Era

Dog – faithfulness / Butterfly – Soul / Daisy – virtue / Fern – attraction / Mistletoe – A kiss / Doves – domestic / Bluebells – reliability / Wishbone – Wish and Hope / Lilac – Constant Love or first feeling of love / Flaming Heart – passion / Forget Me Nots – Remember me / Arrows – Love / Crowned Heart – love / Ivy – Friendship / Clasped Hands – Lasting Love / Anchor – Hope

Necklaces

Necklaces were usually worn short and close to the neck although long gold chains were also worn.  Pave, particularly with snakes and naturalistic motifs, was popular.  Pendants and lockets with naturalistic motifs on ribbons or chains, as well as buckle motifs were common.  Lockets would usually be worn under clothing, close to the heart. Watches on long chains were worn.  Rivieres, often of amethyst or cameos or seed pearls or coral, were also worn.

Necklace

Necklace, silver and gold, pavé-set with turquoises, with rubies, pearls and brilliant-cut diamonds
England, 1835-1840
V&A

Hair and head ornamentation

In keeping with the love of all things Renaissance, Ferronières, were worn by women between the years of 1830 to 1845.  These truly charming jewelry items consisted of a chain or cord worn around the center of the forehead with a single dangling gem. Tiaras were also massively popular, with naturalistic motifs dominating until the 1840 when Gothic motifs began to dominate. As 1860 approached, hair ornamention of all manner became more and more popular.

Tiara

Tiara, brilliant-cut diamond set in silver, with rubies set in gold, and a gold frame
c. 1835, Europe
V&A

Brooches

Large brooches were popular.  Often, these could double as a pendant and had a loop for a chain.  They were worn at the neck during the day and at the décolletage for evening wear. Sometimes, they were worn on the shoulder or in the hair or even on the waist.  Sometimes, fresh flowers would be added. Naturalistic themes dominated, particularly flowers, in a corsage motif.  Sometimes the leaves were enameled green.

Brooch

Gold brooch set with turquoise and diamonds
c.1850, England,
V&A Museum

Earrings

Between the years of 1837-1840, long earrings were considered proper for evening dress.  Between the years 1840-1850, earrings were very rarely worn as the hairstyles of the time covered the ears (and in fact it wasn’t even considered modest to show the ear).  In the 1850s, hair began to be worn off the face again and smaller earrings began to make an appearance, although it wasn’t until the 1860s that they entirely came back.  As Godey’s Lady’s Book stated in 1855: “We give up the ear.  Pretty or not, it cannot afford to be shown.  Any face in the world looks bold with the hair put away so as to show the ears.  They must be covered.  The curving of the jaw needs the intersecting shade of the falling curl, or of the plait of braid drawn across it.  So evident is it to us that nature intended the female ear to be covered (by giving long hair to women, and making the ears concealment almost inevitable as well as necessary to her beauty)-that we only wonder the wearing of it covered, by hair or cap, has never been put down among the rudiments of modesty.”

Earrings

Earrings, gold set with pierced pearls and foiled garnets
Italy, c. 1820 – 1860
V&A

Bracelets

Bracelets were very popular during this era and were probably the most common jewelry item.  They were generally very big, at least over an inch wide and were often hinged or with linked lozenges. They were usually worn in matching pairs or in groups. Flexible, stretchy bracelets appeared as these could be worn higher up the arms. Serpent motifs abounded, often with pave and turquoise and other semi-precious stones.  Enamel work, often deep blue, was popular as well as diamonds for the wealthy.  Garter (jarretière) motifs were popular.  Hair-work and ribbons were common.  Mesh bracelets were also popular, often set with cameo or miniatures.  Often they would have very ornate clasps.

Bracelet

Bracelet, gold, gold filigree, dannetille decoration, pearls and turquoises
C. 1830-1850, England,
V&A Museum

Rings

Rings would commonly be figural carved in high relief, snake motifed, gem-set, enameled, buckle or floral motifed.  Cluster rings were also worn.  Rings would often be worn as love tokens and for mourning (with black enamel).

Ring

Ring, orange-brown tourmaline, in a gold mount
England 1800-69
V&A

Sources / further reading: 

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Romantic_Period_1837-1860

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_conquest_of_Algeria

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroplating#History

http://blog.pamonfifth.com/era/

http://www.webtrify.com/romantic-era-jewelry/

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/fine-jewelry/victorian-edwardian