Thursday, January 24, 2013

The History of All-White Wedding Jewelry

Diamond and Pearl Cluster Ring
Copyright 2012. EraGem Jewelry
Used with permission.

All-white wedding jewelry, particularly those pieces set with pearls and diamonds, grew in popularity throughout the latter half of the Victorian Era. While 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.

Two major milestones during the Mid-Victorian Era made it possible for upper- and middle-class brides to begin emulating Queen Victoria's all-white theme three decades after her royal wedding. First was the tragic death of Prince Albert in 1861. Second was the discovery of the The De Beers and Kimberley Diamond Mines in the 1870s.

Perpetual Mourning
After her beloved Albert died, Queen Victoria 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.

As the populace interpreted these royal mourning customs, the color slowly drained out of the jewelry industry. Colored gemstones slowly fell out of favor, even for bridal jewelry. During this dark season, the rise of diamonds and pearls in bridal jewelry was evident. Brides, primarily restricted to diamonds, pearls, black glass, rubies, emeralds, crystals, and jet, chose the lightest of these choices—pearls and diamonds.

Pearl & Diamond Engagement Ring
Copyright 2012 EraGem Estate Jewelry

Diamonds, Diamonds, Diamonds
Though opals were popular for engagement rings during the Early Victorian period, after Albert’s death they fell out of favor for a wedding celebration. An article in an 1875 copy of the Young Ladies’ Journal advises, “opals, on account of their signification being ‘sorrow’ are not fashionable for engagement rings.” {1, p. 139}

This same article confirms the popularity of pearls and diamonds: “Any pretty fancy ring may be worn as an engagement-ring. Pearls or diamonds are considered the proper gems. The engagement-ring is not considered after marriage to answer the purpose of a keeper. A keeper should be a chased* gold ring without stones in it. It is worn on the same finger as the wedding-ring.” {1, p. 139}
Thanks to the prolific mining of diamonds in Africa, diamonds flooded the market. The result was diamonds, diamonds, diamonds at reasonable prices. From then on, diamonds and pearls have been the tradition for wedding jewelry.

Thanks to a wildly successful campaign by De Beers, launched in 1938, just before the War, diamond engagement rings became THE trend. {7} Though the Queen’s prolonged mourning most certainly hindered the gaiety of the early Victorian period, the growing trend toward all-white wedding jewelry was not necessarily a downer trend. In fact, the elegance, beauty, and simplicity of the designs of the Grand Era inspire many women, and these beautiful antique styles remain a solid choice for today’s bride.

*Chased gold is gold that has been embossed.


1. Flower, Margaret. Victorian Jewellery. London: Cassell & Co., 1951.
2. “History of Wedding Rings.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 12, 2013.
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.
5. “The History of Jewelry.” Brilliance Jewelry, accessed February 12, 2013.
6. “The Victorian Wedding Ring and Victorian Engagement Rings.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 12, 2013.
7. Friedman, Uri. "How an Ad Campaign Invented the Diamond Engagement Ring." The Atlantic, February 13, 2015,

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


  1. Replies
    1. I'm so glad you found it enjoyable. I hope you will visit again.

  2. This is a well-researched article which you have shared here about Wedding Jewelry. This is a very informative and useful article. This type of advice is not easy to find. so, thanks for this information. Buy Pure Silver Finger Rings Online Australia

  3. Wonderful Message for all which you have shared here about Wedding Jewelry. This is very useful for those who need this. In the future share this type of informative article here with us. Best Opal Earrings Online USA

  4. Most of the time I don’t make comments on websites, but I'd like to say that this article really forced me to do so. Really nice post. Shop Gold Color Earrings for Women

  5. I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with the quality and presentation of the articles. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. sell gold jewelry online in USA

  6. Once i received onto your website even though getting consideration basically somewhat tad submits. Pleasurable strategy for upcoming, I am bookmarking at the same time acquire kinds end rises upwards.

  7. Pretty remarkable post. I simply came across your blog and desired to say that I have really enjoyed searching your blog posts. we provide Diamond Rings at affordable charges. to know more visit our website.

  8. Very well written article. It was an awesome article to read. Complete rich content and fully informative. I totally Loved it. mens necklace

  9. Such a great post you have shared here about Jewellery. Through this post, I got some helpful knowledge which is essential for me.traditional Emirati jewellery Dubai Thanks for posting it.

  10. The history behind all-white wedding jewellery is quite interesting. Your way of writing and making things clear is very impressive. I really appreciate your efforts in writing such informed article, looking forward to learn more. Keep sharing such informative articles. Gold Jewellery Mississauga

  11. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much. Read more info about Pearl Shops in Hyderabad

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. I'm genuinely impressed with your knowledge. You have such great knowledge of dressing. Please share more information like this pink amethyst tower. I really appreciate your blog. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. I am very thankful to you that you have shared this information with us. I got some different kind of knowledge from your web page, and it is really helpful for everyone. Thanks for share it. Read more info about Indian Traditional Jewellery Online Shopping

  15. The content you've posted here is fantastic because it provides some excellent information that will be quite beneficial to me. Thank you for sharing about Buy Gold Bullion San Jose. Keep up the good work.

  16. Thanks for your post. It's very helpful post for us. You can also visit 18k Gold Plated Jewelry Collection Online USA for more Victor Steel related information. I would like to thanks for sharing this article here.

  17. You there, this is really good post here. Thanks for taking the time to post such valuable information. Quality content is what always gets the visitors coming. Sell Broken Gold Jewelry Meridian

  18. I'd like to express my gratitude for writing such an informative piece on this blog. This article provided me with a variety of data about Get Cash for Your Silver jewelry in Roxana, GA. Continue to post.

  19. The information you've provided is quite useful. It's incredibly instructional because it provides some of the most useful information about Parker Pawn & Jewelry. Thank you for sharing that.

  20. I generally check this kind of article and I found your article which is related to my interest.pawn shop milford ct Genuinely it is good and instructive information. Thankful to you for sharing an article like this.

  21. Very well written article. It was an awesome article to read. about Diamond Dangle Earrings Complete rich content and fully informative. I totally Loved it.

  22. I generally check this kind of article and I found your article which is related to my interest. Genuinely it is good and instructive information, Jewelry Pawn Shop Online Thankful to you for sharing an article like this.

  23. It is what I was searching for is really informative. Gold Bullion Dealers In UK It is a significant and useful article for us. Thankful to you for sharing an article like this.

  24. The representation of this article is actually superb. I think this is a genuinely beneficial and instructive article for everyone, 18k Gold Vermeil Rings Online I appreciate this kind of writing, Thankful to you for sharing an article like this.

  25. You wrote this post Air Force Retirement Shadow Boxes very carefully. The amount of information is stunning and also a gainful article for us. Keep sharing this kind of articles, Thank you.