Monday, January 28, 2013

Early Victorian Engagement and Wedding Rings (Part 2)

Pamela Love ring
Victorian Serpent Ring
Photo Source: Pamela Love/Polyvore

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

In 1840, Prince Albert once again broke with tradition. Rather than presenting Victoria with one of the typical half hoop gemstone and diamond rings popular for betrothal rings, he personally designed Queen Victoria’s engagement ring. He fulfilled his intention to thoroughly enchant her when he fashioned the band into a gold serpent biting its tail.

This symbol of eternal love was further branded with a verdant green emerald atop its head. Emeralds, the symbol of hope, were not only the Queen’s birthstone, but were also endowed with the power of ensuring that a woman would become a loving wife.

Victoria and Albert’s passion for jewelry and jewelry design influenced an entire generation of Romantics. These new Romantics drew from the resources available, including both high- and low-karat gold, silver, rose gold, and pinchbeck (imitation gold made of zinc and copper), they fashioned bold and intricate settings of hearts, bows, or flowers.

As a rule, Early Victorian Era wedding rings were as ornate and whimsical as the young Queen who inspired them and as sentimental and distinguished as her Prince who lavished his bride with copious gifts of jeweled creations of his own design. Not only did Albert’s serpent motif become a mainstay of early Victorian betrothal rings, but soon other natural motifs, including butterflies, daisies, doves, and butterflies, made their debut.

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  1. I would never have guessed a snake biting its tail symbolized eternal love. I sure hope Queen Victoria knew what it meant when she was given the gift!

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  3. Really informative…Well wedding rings are precious token of love exchanged with someone special. I still remember my day when I had to select the best one for my fiancĂ© but luckily got the titanium full eternity ring from and just can’t believed that she really loves my choice. I could see the love and affection in her smile and all that small things made my day a memorable one.

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