The Victorian era, spanning such a breadth of time and in fact covering three distinct periods, can be a bewildering era in which to search for the perfect ring. Hence, here is a quick guide to buying a genuine Victorian ring which takes a look at the different periods that together make up the era.
Early Victorian Rings: Romance and Eternal Love
Spanning between the years 1837 to 1860, the early Victorian Period was one of great hope. It is the time in which Queen Victoria took to the throne and as well the era in which she married Prince Albert. It was also a time in which the Industrial Revolution was in full steam. Consequently, new factories were opening up all over England and people felt that with these changes new jobs, new wealth and a better quality of life would surely follow.
Hence, the motifs which dominated during the Romantic Period were almost entirely related to flora, fauna and celebrating life and the ‘becoming’ of things. In fact, Prince Albert famously embraced the Romantic fashion by gifting Queen Victoria an engagement ring created to mimic a serpent biting its own tail, which is said to represent eternal love.
At this point in the Victorian ear it is important to alsopoint out that rings were still commonly created using 18k and even 22k gold and that the Romantic Period preceded the gold shortage which did not alleviate until the Gold Rush in California. Hence, and due as well to the fact that hallmarking was not yet common practice in Britain, when buying Romantic jewellery it is important to pay particular attention to the carat of its gold.
For a more indepth look at Victorian engagement and weddings rings and how Prince Albert’s proposal to the new Queen Victoria shaped the fashion of rings made at the time, head over to the Everything Wedding Rings website and read their article: The Victorian Wedding Ring and Victorian Engagement Rings. Meanwhile to view and even buy your very own, visit Laurelle Antique Jewellery Online where you will find a large collection of Victorian rings hailing from all three periods in the era.
Mid Victorian Rings: A Morbid Fascination
The Mid Victorian Period is perhaps the darkest of the three – quite literally. During the period the light-hearted and jovial mood in the country very quickly turned due largely to the unexpected death of Prince Albert. Consequently, Queen Victoria donned her now famous black attire and a time of mourning was entered into by all British people.
People did not only during this time embrace black clothing though. It was the Mid Victorian Period in fact that saw the fashion for mourning jewellery reach its height. Mourning jewellery was not a new concept, but never before had it proved so popular, and it is not entirely due to the death of Prince Albert that it became so; despite the hope being created by the Industrial Revolution, the conditions for millions of Britain’s poorest were dire and their lives were short and hard. Hence, when Victoria lost her husband, the country grieved as one. After all, millions knew all too well the pain of losing their nearest and dearest. Add to this the fact that jewellery production was rapidly becoming mass produced, and it makes sense that a greater wealth of mourning jewellery was created during the Mid Victorian Period than ever before.
Bearing a creative mix of stones and materials from black onyx and jet to petrified wood, hardened rubber (known as vulcanite), black glass and even coal, examples of mourning rings can today fetch high prices and often bear inscriptions and significance that make them highly sought after.
To learn more about Mid Victorian mourning jewellery, what to look for and how to buy genuine mourning rings of the period, begin by reading the feature: Antique Mourning Jewelry, which you can find on the Collectors’ Weekly website.
Late Victorian Rings: Inventing New Hope
Contained within the years of 1885 and 1901, the Late Victorian Period saw, at last, the end to the nation’s mourning and with it, the rings being created changed too, and they did so notably.
Enthusiastic to break free from the oppressive and inescapably depressing period before, Late Victorian jewellers and at this point factoriesto a far larger degree began making rings which bore hallmarks as standard. Hence, for the first time non-experts could really know the quality of what they were buying, and they were buying.
A newly emerging Middle Class in Britainalso meant that people were buying more jewellery than ever before. And they knew what they wanted; influenced by the recent inventions of the car and excitement surrounding electricity as well as intrigued by the way the Industrial Revolution had connected countries all over the world and introduced new and foriegn fashions to Britain, many rings were made bearing exotic motifs, patterns, designs and using new techniques to celebrate this.
To learn more about what specifically these motifs were, the new metals machines enabled jewellery makers to use to make rings during the period and how to identify a Late Victorian ring, visit the International Gem Society website and give their article: Late Victorian Period Jewelry – 1885-1901, a read.