The Victorian Era, was named after the beloved Queen Victoria. The Victorian Era can be broken down into three categories; Early Victorian, or “Romantic”, Middle Victorian, or “Grand, and late Victorian or “Aesthetic”. Common metals used during the Victorian time period were still gold, silver, and rolled gold filled. Popular stones used were Diamond, Garnet, Amethyst, Turquoise, Sapphire, Pearl, Agate, Amber and Quartz. Animal and snake motifs were also commonly seen. Stones were usually cut as rose cut, old mine cut, European cut or cabochon. Ladies were adorned with stud earrings, stick pins, lockets, bracelets and vinaigrettes.
The Romantic Era reflected religion and the love of the ruling couple- Victoria and Albert. Designs included hearts, hands, crosses and knots. Snake jewelry became very trendy during this time period as it was a sign of eternal love.
The Grand Era is when Mourning Jewelry was introduced. Lockets containing pictures or locks of hair of loved ones. Styles got bolder, and more intricate metal work was more commonly seen. The Grand period Jewelry introduced new stone setting techniques including gypsy and pave’ setting.
The Aesthetic Era jewelry became darker and dismal as Victoria was mourned the death of Albert in 1861. Stones tended to be dark in color, using Jet, onyx, tortoise, fossilized coal or wood were used to represent the lack of light and life.
Also in the Aesthetic Era fashion and jewelry lightened up from the large statement pieces of the Grand Era. Styles became more delicate. Popular motifs included animal heads, bows, barrels, crescents, good luck symbols, knots, leaves, starts, double hearts and crowns.