Queen Victoria and her impact on jewellery history

 

- June 2017 -

Queen Victorian made a deep imprint on England and Europe as a whole. The Victorian era was not only characterised by the conquest for new territories and the construction of grand palaces, but also and perhaps, especially, it was about a new perception of social life, the family and feelings.

 

queen VictoriaIn 1837, Queen Victoria (1819-1901) acceded to the throne of England at the age of eighteen. She was an exceptional woman and made her kingdom into the world’s most powerful colonial empire. Her perseverance and her remarkable entourage meant that an exemplary political continuity was ensured throughout the kingdom. She contributed to the stability of internal politics thanks to her understanding of middle class desires. She ensured international stability through her children’s marriages. Life at the Court of England followed strict rules and protocols. To be presented to the Queen or to a Princess was a very important moment in the life of an aristocratic young lady. Knowing when to curtsey, taking lessons in posture and dress rules were all necessary to be part of worldly London society. Any foreign woman who married an English aristocrat was allowed to present herself to the Court. This custom was abolished by Queen Elizabeth II around 1960. The festivities of the Victorian age were meticulously organized according to strict protocol. This was the birth of the true Victorian era.


queen Victoria as bridePrince Albert presented Victoria a ring on their engagement in the shape of a snake, which set off a new trend that spread through all of Europe.  Her ring double entwined around her finger and was studded with an emerald on the snakes’ head, which was her birthstone. Victoria’s snake ring was meant as a symbol of "everlasting love" and a love that will "last for an eternity". Having married the Prince consort, Albert de Saxe-Cobourg Gotha, the Queen introduced romanticism at Court. At balls and official events, she displayed jewels with symbolic motifs of grapes, leaves, snakes and flowers. In 1844 she wore a snake necklace of turquoises. The clasps of her necklaces were often a snake’s head and tail, a symbol of eternal love. Different models of this type were very popular at the time. It is also Queen Victoria who introduced the white wedding gown, which had been coloured up until then.

Two films commemorate the mark she made on society: Victoria the Great and Sixty Glorious Years. In 1876, Queen Victoria became Empress of India, the principle mining source of coloured precious stones. When Prince Albert dies, she went into mourning and introduced special mourning jewellery in Court. It was also at this time that Victorian women wore jewellery as a sign that their husband was successful.

Women were seen to be weak, silent, suffering and were taught from a very early age to be inferior to men. Women were educated with the sole aims of providing agreeable company for men, being useful and worthy of love. A woman’s purpose in life was to be a devoted wife and mother. Happily, times have changes!

 

Text ©World Luxury Jewellers
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