|Victorian Mourning Brooch|
Photo Source: Vintage Jewellery Pictures
by Angela Magnotti Andrews
In 1861, following
death, the hope-inspired jewelry designs and romantic customs of the Romantic
Era gave way to pragmatic authoritarian rules and regulations about everything,
With the heavier social customs came heavier jewelry, as well as the institution of day and night jewelry. It was frowned upon to be seen during the day with glittery, ostentatious jewelry. The once frilly and colorful designs of the early Victorian years were replaced with subtler, yet heavier designs made from onyx, black glass, and jet (a form of fossilized driftwood).
Colored stones were strictly taboo, and colorless diamonds, found in abundance in
Africa in 1867, fast became the stone of
choice for evening wear. Though a little more flash was tolerated for night
wear, designers began to draw their inspiration from the gothic, Etruscan, and
ancient Italian architecture. The result: Darker, heavier pieces, such as the
mourning brooch shown above.
For ten years,
Victoria remained in seclusion, traveling
privately between Balmoral and .
She came into public view only a handful of times during those years; first for
the unveiling of a statue of Albert in 1863, second for a public ride through
the streets of London in 1864, and finally, reluctantly, for the Opening of
Parliament in 1866. Her life became fixated on death, and Windsor Castle England’s
fashion trendsetter remained in deep mourning for nearly a decade.
1. Essortment. "Victorian Mourning Customs." Accessed June 13, 2012. http://www.essortment.com/victorian-mourning-customs-63807.html.
2. Spark Notes. "Queen Victoria: The Years of Mourning." Accessed June 13, 2012. http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/victoria/section5.rhtml.
3. Smith, S. E. "What was Victorian Mourning Like?" wiseGeek. Accessed June 13, 2012. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-was-victorian-mourning-like.htm.
4. Britton, Natalya. "Victorian Death Worship and Literature." Literary Culture @ Suite101. June 29, 2012. Accessed June 13, 2012. http://suite101.com/article/victorian-death-worship-and-literature-a255829.
5. Burnett, Ann. "Perkin's Purple." Writer and Tutor, Ann Burnett. Accessed June 13, 2012. http://www.annburnett.co.uk/perkins_purple.html.
6. Wikipedia. "Mourning." Accessed June 13, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourning.
7. Nadelhoffer, Hans. Cartier. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2007.
8. Rappaport, Helen. Queen
Biographical Companion. Victoria Santa
Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
9. Tisdall, E. E. P. Alexandra: Edward VII’s Unpredictable Queen.
York: J. Day Co., 1954.
*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy