Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The History of All-White Wedding Jewelry (Part 1)

Diamond and Pearl Cluster Ring
Copyright 2012. EraGem Jewelry
Used with permission.
by Angela Magnotti Andrews


All-white wedding jewelry, particularly those pieces set with pearls and diamonds, grew in popularity throughout the Victorian Era. Though the royals had been wearing pearls and diamonds for their weddings for centuries, those of lesser means were restricted to smaller gemstones or simple gold bands for their bridal jewelry.  Even after Queen Victoria's all-white wedding, it would be nearly thirty years before all-white wedding jewelry became the norm for upper- and middle-class brides.

This trend among upper- and middle-class brides to wear only diamonds and pearls arose from two major milestones of the Mid-Victorian Era. The discovery of the Kibmerely diamond mines in 1870s, which followed on the heels of the tragic death of Prince Albert in the 1860s.  These two momentous events combined to cement pearls and diamonds as the quintessential wedding jewelry combination, a combination that still reigns for many of today's classic, modern, or vintage brides.

By the time a surplus of diamonds hit the market, Queen Victoria was in full-tilt mourning for her beloved Albert. For the rest of her life the widowed Queen wore shades of black and grey, and for a large portion of the Mid-Victorian Era, Her Majesty forbade members of the Royal family from wearing anything that wasn’t lavender, mauve, or grey.

She also decreed that women of court could wear only dark jewelry with small rubies, emeralds or sapphires during the day. In the evening, only diamonds, pearls, and opals were allowed . It was strictly forbidden for women of class to wear whimsical, colorful, or overly dazzling jewelry.


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BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Flower, Margaret. Victorian Jewellery. London: Cassell & Co., 1951.
2. “History of Wedding Rings.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 12, 2013. http://www.everything-wedding-rings.com/history-of-wedding-rings.html.
3. Prima, Michelle. The Victorian Wedding.” Cape May County Herald Online. February 2, 2010. Accessed January 13, 2013.
4. Stajda, Sharon. “Wedding Traditions & Customs—Historical Wedding Fashions—1850-1950.” Squidoo. Last modified January 24, 2013. Accessed January 12, 2013. http://www.squidoo.com/weddingtraditions.
5. “The History of Jewelry.” Brilliance Jewelry, accessed February 12, 2013. http://www.brilliancejewelry.com/history/index.html.
6. “The Victorian Wedding Ring and Victorian Engagement Rings.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 12, 2013. http://www.everything-wedding-rings.com/victorian-wedding-ring.html

2 comments:

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