A mutual commitment for the marriage of two people and their respective families, is called an engagement. With an engagement being organized signifies that the couple is testifying their desire and will to marry. This ritual of offering a proposal is an ancient tradition that has been practiced for hundreds of years. In the past, it was common for future husbands to discuss the terms of marriage with the bride’s father. It was considered an official engagement.
The Victorian era began and ended with the reign of Queen Victoria. She ascended the throne of the United Kingdom in 1837 and died in 1901. These sixty-four years have seen tremendous changes in art, society, fashion and of course in jewellery. For example, it began with horse-drawn carriages and candlelight and ended with automobiles and electricity. The term Victorian broadly refers to the British art and culture produced during that period.
In the case of jewellery of the Victorian era, each sub-period had different motifs and fashion toe rings , metals and fictional techniques that grew and gained popularity. However, some elements have endured and seen transformations while some of which helped shape a piece. For example, hair ornaments were worn during the Romantic/Victorian period but its popularity peaked during the Grand Period. Thus, the metallic work of a dainty locket and silver choker necklaces consisting of hair locks would mark the piece as romantic or a Victorian period jewellery. On the other hand, a huge, pressed brooch featuring a gemstone framed with hair braided is most likely to fall in the grand period.
Notable Features of Romantic/Victorian Period Jewellery:
The Industrial Revolution progressed during the early Victorian period. Factories opened at an unprecedented rate, and businesses and industries flourished. Mass production capacities meant jewellery was no longer being hand made.
The jewellery of the romantic period was very sensitive. It often reflected the new romantic love of a young couple. Jewellers often used 18K gold to make them. However, before the California Gold Rush (1848-1855) that saw the gold shortage in Britain, low carat and gold plating of jewellery became common.
Brooches made during the Victorian period had their pins stretched all over the body of the brooch. The fasteners had clips of the usual design. Gemstones were often set in a nail or a claw-like prong to fix the settings according to the metal that surrounded the outer rim of the gemstone.
Notable gem cutting styles of the earlier Victorian era Involved:
- Rose Cut- is round shaped with a domed top and a flat bottom.
- Old-Mine cut: is usually a rounded square shape, with many facets which precisely resembles today’s modern eras round brilliant cut.
- Cabochon: is a rounded top with a flat bottom. The Victorian era jewellery were one of its kinds and none ever made can comprehend the beauty and elegance that the jewelleries of that era possessed.