Even today, this period of jewellery is highly sought after. Queen Victoria’s own life heavily influenced the jewellery during this period and the fashions changed with her own preferences throughout her reign. The people were fond of their Queen and followed her every choice. An age of innovation and social development, naturalism remained a favourite theme, though it became stimulated by the Romantic Movement. Diamond set bouquets of flowers were decorated with cascading diamond drops, imitating rainfall. Contrasting colours, seed pearls and organic materials cut en cabochon were favoured. The ‘snake’ became synonymous with the era and can be seen in the form of necklets, bracelets and rings. Due to the advancement of technology, machine made jewellery became the norm, and Birmingham the main mass producer of goods in the UK. People started to become disillusioned with the quality of jewellery made available to them, as with this advancement it also brought gold plating and rolled gold to the forefront of manufacture. At this point in 1854, standard carats were introduced which brought with it a much more stable and reliable quality of jewellery. The Victorian period saw revivals of Etruscan, Greek, Byzantine and Egyptian styles as many archaeological discoveries were made during this time and the excitement of new and interesting designs were in highly sought after.
People became dissatisfied with the sub-standard quality of jewellery, and it wasn’t until 1890’s when there was a revival of popularity, but for less exuberant styles. During this time, carved and crescent moons, rows of pearls - favoured because the fresh, shining lustre complimented the pale skin tones of the period, name brooches, novelty jewellery such as animals or insects, and garland styles (made popular by Cartier) were highly desirable.
Sadly in 1861, Queen Victoria’s beloved Prince Albert passed away and from this date on, she remained in a state of mourning. Of course her loyal subjects followed her every move and mourning jewellery, either in the form of “Mizpah” ornaments, or pieces crafted from beautiful Whitby Jet or embellished with black enamel were the fashion until her own death in 1901.