Victorian Engagement Rings
The Victorian era began when Queen Victoria was crowned in 1837. Early Victorian engagement rings were large and ornate, many with carved gold mounts. The Victorian era lasted for over 60 years until Victorias death in 1901. 18 carat gold was the main choice of metal until around 1854 when lesser quality gold began to have their own hallmark. 9 carat (.375 percent fine gold) was used as a cheaper form. 12 and 15 carat golds were also used.
The early Victorian jewelers took a lot of their designs from animals and flowers which included serpents, grapes and leaves. Jewellers also went back to gothic and medievel shapes in their designs. Mourning jewellery was also still popular. In 1847 Louis Cartier started his own workshops at the age of 28 by taking over his masters jewelery business.
In 1851 the great Exhibition was held in a crystal palace in London’s Hyde Park which provided a great opportunity for new jewelers to showcase their new designs.
Queen Victoria’s favorite gems included pearls, opals, coral, garnet, turquoise, amethyst and garnet. Diamonds became more popular in the 1860′s after huge deposits were found making them more affordable. Designs changed to include Etruscan, Greek and Egyptian styles.
In 1861 after the death of Victorias mother and husband she went into deep mourning for the rest of her life. This spawned a new design of black or dark jewelery made from materials such as cut steel, Berlin iron and jet.
In 1864 Peter Carl Faberge joined his fathers business and took control in 1872. The Russian royal family took an interest in the business and awarded them a royal warrant.
From the 1880′s on the Victorians were very prosperous and many engagement rings were fashioned from carved gold mounts. Gold was discovered in California which meant more could afford jewellery.The three stone mount became popular as per the pictureAround this time, gold was being found in California and this indicated that, with the introduction of the middle classes, that even more folks were able to afford to have jewellery. The exceptional volume of jewellery for sale in antiques stores and fairs displays this clearly.
As the century proceeded the focus was more on science and technology thusly jewellery came to be bolder and numerous mourning rings and mourning jewellery of the era display this style. Mourning jewellery itself has something remarkably synonymous with Victorian jewellery – the use of black gemstones such as onyx and jet were often made use of.
Victorian sentimental jewellery is a style that was used with rings spelling out love, regard and dearest using the first initial of the stone to spell out the desired name. Many people like the idea of using these as engagement rings today.