Animal jewelry is all the rage (again). Almost any animal you can think of has been incorporated into a fantastic, wearable design. You’re probably familiar with classic snake rings and panther bracelets, but what about pony or owl rings? Have you considered a frog or a peacock bracelet?
While there are many updated versions on the snake ring; I am partial to auction or antique market finds of Victorian snake jewelry. Although the style emerged in the 1840′s, serpent jewelry was so popular that many pieces were made, for all budgets, and can still be easily found today. Wild finger wrapping rings, hinged bangles or articulated links that make a neck chain feel like a real snake are just part of their intrigue and appeal.
Perhaps you need a wee bit of luck. Zoelle’s Pink Elephant cocktail ring may be just the piece for you. Pave-set pink cubic zirconia with gold-tone and yellow CZ detailing, this ring is not for the meek. The pink elephant could easily become your new statement ring.
If a pave animal ring isn’t your cup of tea, try out a large statement brooch. This time of year we are all breaking out our coats, blazers, and sweaters and a brooch is the perfect accent. This fabulous selection is from Tiffany & Co.’s Audubon collection. Diamonds, amethyst, tsavorite, and spessartite are combined with lacquer and set in 18k gold. Simply stunning! No matter what your animal of choice may be, there’s an amazing piece of jewelry out there featuring it. If you don’t have a favorite animal, just peruse the zoo.
The reign of Queen Victoria lasted from 1837 to 1901; and various styles are associated with the long reign of Queen Victoria. Parurers, or matching suites of jewelry, remained a constant throughout the period, although later giving way to smaller demi-parurers. These often contained a necklace, drop earrings, brooch and a bracelet or two. Victoria’s reign can be divided in to early, mid, and late for fashion influences in jewelry.
Early Victorian jewelry can be referred to as the Romantic period. Throughout this period the jewelry was primarily composed of yellow gold, hardstones and semi-precious gemstones. Coral, cameos, turquoise, seed pearls and garnets are prevalent in the early Victorian period.
The mid-Victorian period is marked by the death of Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert; in 1861 a twenty-year period of mourning jewelry was begun. During this period black material such as jet, gutta percha and black enamel were greatly used in jewelry. Pietra dura and micro mosaics were very popular. Various motifs of applied gold embellishments on jewelry were influenced by different revivals, including Etruscan, Egyptian and Renaissance.
In late Victorian jewelry we begin to see the introduction of white metal, initially silver topped gold and later platinum. Jewelry is set with diamonds and lighter colored stones in general including moonstones and sapphires. Designs become lighter and more delicate. Finally in 1896, we see the addition of beautiful, delicate enamel pieces to commemorate the Jubilee of Victoria’s Coronation.
Bangle and cuff bracelets were as popular with the Victorians as they are today. Mid-Victorian, predominately yellow gold, bracelets were often sold in pairs; and can still be found in the estate market. Wearing Victorian jewelry today is fun, and believe it or not…fashion forward.