Have you heard of the Victorian aesthetic Jewellery? Do you like it or know what makes up that trend? Learning about the styles and when they were in fashion helps us a lot with understanding our of Victorian jewellery and helps us place them at the date they were made.
Development of Victorian Aesthetic.
The Victorian era lasted from 1837 to 1901. During this time style and taste evolved and changed, fashions came and went just as they do these days although the pace of change was not quite as quickly. The Great Exhibition at Crystal palace in 1851 showed off the high Victorian taste and style of the time but whilst it was huge success many thought it lacked good taste. Also, much of the works were mechanically made and lacked individual artistic merit. As a rebellion against high Victorian several of art movements of the later 1800s developed including what we now call Victorian Aesthetic.
What is Victorian Aesthetic style?
Note here I am talking about Victorian aesthetic jewellery not about when it was applied to other objects. Sometimes when I see a piece of jewellery it screams Victorian Aesthetic at me. The style is very distinctive and once you recognise it you will not forget what it looks like. It lasted from about 1870s to 1900. It is unlikely that any piece of Victorian aesthetic jewellery you have will date before or after this time.
Foreign influences. Orientalism, there is a distinctly Japanese flavour to many pieces of Victorian aesthetic design. Fans were popular, cherry blossom and Japanese garden scenes including bridges and pagodas. Egyptian styles also creep in occasionally but they are not seen quite as often
Birds, flying birds, storks, swans and cranes are regularly featured. These may be in conjunction with flowers and plants or with a geometric pattern
Flowers & plants, Sunflowers, bamboo, carnations and cherry blossom. Lots of flowers but naturalistically shown in a pared back rather than overblown like in the high Victorian style.
Geometric patterns, areas of cross-hatching possibly with flowers over.
Victorian Aesthetic Jewellery
The pieces of jewellery we most often see with the Victorian aesthetic style are Antique bangles, brooches and lockets. Usually, these are made of silver and may have the gold detail to pick out the highlights. Sometimes colourful enamels were applied as well. In the Aesthetic movement, the artistic merit of the design was valued above the intrinsic value of the gemstones. The style is simpler and less overblown than high Victorian, much more appealing to today’s tastes. All the pieces you see in this article are in the Victorian aesthetic manner. I will add more in the future.