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Victorian Grand Period 1860-1885

Victorian Jewelry: Grand Period 1860-1885..Pt.1


The Grand Period 1860-1885 was a glorious time and also a time for mourning for the Victorians. 

Victorian women's fashion was undergoing a radical transition and the large and cumbersome Crinolines and restrictive Corsets made Victorian life a little more difficult for the Victorian women.
Crinoline hoops had to be removed before taking your seat in a carriage and then they were hooked onto the back of the carriage c1860

1861: Civil War begins (1861-1865) Lincoln Inaugurated.
1861: Prince Consort Albert dies; Queen Victoria enters prolonged period of mourning.
1861: Fortunato Pio Castellani turns business over to son Augusto.
1861: Wearing of (Black) Mourning jewelry required at British Court until circa 1880.
Egyptian-Style Micromosaic necklace & brooch set with Egyptian Scarabs, made by Master Italian Jeweler Castellani of gold, glass tesserae & faience.

The Grand Period was a time of Revivals of Ancient Jewelry styles. The Victorians had a passion for Ancient History, recent Archaeological Discoveries and written accounts of the exploits of Ancient Civilizations.
During the Grand Period the jewelry business flourished throughout Europe.


1862: International Exhibition held in London.
1862: Japanese Decorative Arts exhibited for the first time in the West.
1862: Archaeological Revival Gold Jewelry exhibited by Castellani of Rome at International Exhibition..The archaeological revival are neo-styles of the 18th and 19th centuries inspired by excavations/discoveries of Roman, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Etruscan sites. 
1862: Reverse Intaglios by Charles Cook shown at Exhibition.
Empress Eugenie with her beautiful jewelry - c1853

In France, the Second Empire, led by Napoleon III and his Empress Eugenie was influencing fashion and jewelry design.
Eugenie had a passion for Emeralds making them almost as desirable as Diamonds, which caused quite a stir in France.
Tiara jewels suddenly became very popular. Empress Eugenie favored elaborate Tiara jewels with Scrollwork and Diamond & Emerald Drops.



1883: Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Alexandra of Denmark.
1863: Castellani claims to be earliest reviver of Plique-a-Jour Enamel.  Plique-à-jour, a French term that translates to "letting in the daylight" and defines a type of transparent enamel that has no backing. Similar to a stained glass window.
1865: Sapphires found in Missouri River in Montana.
1865: The Idol's Eye Diamond's first appearance in recorded history, It's Sold by Christies in London.
Napoleon III (1808 - 1873). Emperor of France from 1852 to 1870. He married Eugénie de Montijo and had one son. He industrialized France and built most of modern Paris. He was deposed in 1870 after losing the battle of Sedan.

Napoleon also had a passion for beautiful jewelry and loved collecting Antique Cameos. 
Napoleon was credited with the Revival of the Cameo Industry.

Emerald Cameo Pendant, engraved and moulded by Fortunato Pio Castellani in the 19th Century, which Napoleon III gave to the Countess of Castiglione.

1866: Benoitons Became popular. A Benoiton is a Hair Decoration, consisting of several chains which were secured in the hair. These chains were held in place on the bodice.
1867:Paris International Exhibition
1867: First Authenticated Diamond the "Eureka" discovered in South Africa.
1867: Eqyptian Revival Jewelry exhibited at Paris Exposition, John Brogden wins Gold Medal for his jewelry.
1867: Parisian firm Boucheron begins production of Plique-a-Jour Enamels.

Gold, Cat's-Eye Chrysoberyl, Ruby, Diamond and Enamel Pendant-Brooch, Carlo Giuliano, 1863-1895,Of Renaissance Revival-Style, the circular bombé form set in the center with a cabochon cat's-eye chrysoberyl measuring approximately 14.0 mm., accented by oval and round cabochon rubies, and old mine and antique pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 5.00 carats, applied with white and black enamel, signed C.G, with pendant hook, retractable pendant loop, and removable brooch fitting.


Goldsmith Carlo Giuliano (1831-1895) working in the Neo-Renaissance Style throughout this period, embraced the Renaissance Aesthetic and created beautiful jewelry designs to suit the Victorian woman.


1868: Celluloid, the First successful Semi-Synthetic Thermoplastic invented by John Wesley Hyatt in the U.S.A. commercial production begins in 1873...Celluloid is an early plastic. It is a highly flammable compound made from camphor and guncotton.
1868: Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, R.I. adopts Sterling Standard of  925 parts per thousand.
1869: First Transcontinental Railroad from Omaha to San Francisco.
1869: Suez Canal opened.
1869: Diamond Rush begins in South Africa with the discovery of the"Star of Africa"

A sapphire, ruby, emerald and diamond pendant/brooch, circa 1870 In the Egyptian revival style, designed as the bust of a pharaoh wearing a Nemes above an openwork semi-circle, set throughout with cushion-shaped and rose-cut diamonds and vari-cut emeralds, sapphires and rubies, mounted in gold, French import mark, length 3.5cm

Fabulous jewelry in the Egyptian Style flourished during the Victorian Grand Period as a result of work being done on the Suez Canal, Egyptian excavation of Auguste Mariette and the exhibit of Egyptian treasures at the Exposition Universelle 1867.
Winged Scarabs, Falcons and other Egyptian influenced motives decorated with green, red and blue enamels were created by French jewellers Mellerio, Boucheron and Fromet-Meurice.


1869: Henry D. Morse cuts the Dewey Diamond, largest in America to date - 23,75 ct to 11,70ct -.
1869: American Horological Journal first published, merges with the Jewelers Circular to become the Jeweler' Circular and Horological Review.
1870: Fall of the French Empire.
1870: Start of a recession in Europe that lasts throughout the decade.
1870: Diamonds discovered in Kimberley, South Africa. 

Large gold pendant broach with circular top, arched section below from which hang 11 vase-shaped pendants. Fine gold granulation work throughout. The design of this brooch, like some other pieces made by the Castellanis, is based closely on jewelery unearthed at an important archeological site at Kol Oba in Southern Russia, discovered in 1830. Fortunato Pio Castellani & Sons, Italy, circa 1875


More jewelry styles joined the popular Renaissance and Egyptian ascetic, including a Classic Revival of Greek and Etruscan styles.
Jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani devoted a great deal of his time searching for the secret art of Etruscan Granulation, claiming to have found the answer in a remote area of the Apennines.
Castellani using his Granulation skills along with many other Ancient jewelry techniques went on to create beautiful replicas of jewels discovered in the excavations of Ancient Greek civilizations.

Jewelry enhancement techniques such as engraving and chasing were replaced by the Revival of Ancient techniques to create unique Matte and pieces with shiny surfaces. Beautiful jewels with depth and relief were created using corded wire, Filigree and Granulation.
Castellani's work was adopted most famously by Fontnay in France, John Brogden and Robert Phillips in London and by Carlo Giuliano originally from Naples, now living in London.

Castellani's work was spreading throughout Europe.



1870: Japanese craftsmen introduced metal-working techniques and designs to the west.
1870: Influx of European craftsmen and designers into the U.S.A.
1870: Peter Carl Faberge takes over father's business.
1870: Jewelers' Circular founded, first issue published Feb.15.
1872: International Exhibition held in London.



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Victorian Jewelry: Grand Period 1860-1885..Pt.2  


Many World events helped spur the New Design Techniques and New Discoveries in the Victorian Grand Period 1860-1885

The French Expedition to China introduced the West to the use of Jade in jewelry.

Antique Mexican Silver Filigree Flower necklace

The Mexican Campaign resulted in a fad for bejeweled Hummingbirds st as Brooches and Hair Oraments.

1872: Opals discovered in Queensland, Australia.
1872: Ferdinand J. Herpers of Newark, N.J. patents Six Prong Setting for Diamond, introduced as the Tiffany Setting by Tiffany & Co. in 1886.
1872: Celluloid Commercial Production begins; Trade Name registered in 1873.
1873: Universal Exhibition held in Vienna.
1873: Henry D. Morse and Charles M. Field obtain British and U.S. (1874,1876) patents for steam-driven Bruting (Diamond Cutting) Machines.

A 'Shakudo' necklace and bracelet suite, circa 1860. The necklace composed of oval and circular plaques, each inlaid with copper and gold shakudo-work, suspending a similarly-set fan depicting Japanese scenery, birds and vegetation, accompanied by a bracelet en suite, lengths: pendant 6.2cm, necklace 49.2cm, bracelet 19.5cm

The opening of trade with Japan had the most lasting impact on jewelry design.
Mixed Metal Techniques such as Shibuichi and Shakudo devised by Japanese Sword Makers were incorporated into Victorian Jewelry designs.
The beautiful lines and motifs of Japanese Art would eventually help bring on a new jewelry design - Art Nouveau, which would develop into a large movement during the Victorian Grand Period.

1874: Gold discovered in Black Hills of Dakota Territory - Deadwood, Dakota.
1874: Giuliano opens shop in London.
1875: Arthur Lazenby Liberty founds Liberty & Co. of London.
1875: The Celluloid Mfg. Co. begins jewelry production in Newark, NJ.

Victorian Renaissance Revival Amethyst, Seed Pearl, Enamel And Gold Necklace c.1860-1885

A new shift developed during the Victorian Grand Period, one which would take gem driven designs to one that would adapt the gems to metalwork designs.
Stones were usually Calibre-Cut or Rose-Cut to outline featured gems and to cluster around a Carbuncle creating a floral motif, Stars were very popular during this period also.
Workmanship in the 1860's was very high in the jewelry industry and a fashion for setting small stones into large ones came about.

1876: Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia.
1876: Wearing of swords banned in Japan
1876: Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India.
Antique pique brooch from the 1860's. Made from tortoiseshell, gold and silver designs inlayed in wonderful designs and patterns.

The 1860's also introduced and marked the apex of Tortoiseshell Pique. This beautiful technique was first introduce in England in the seventeenth century by Hugenots.
The naturalistic motifs were completely inlaid by hand.
When machine made Pique began production in Birmingham in 1872 the decline in quality led to the demise of the art form.

Machines were, at the same time, enhancing jewelry manufacture and destroying the fine art of handmade jewelry.


1876: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
1876: Alessandro Castellani presents and lectures on Etruscan Revival Jewelry at Centennial Exposition.
1877: Advent of Bottled Oxygen (Liquefied and Compressed)
Oval shape crystal reverse intaglio ring with a finely carved image of a bird perched on a branch in a rose gold mount Victorian circa 1880

A favorite of the Victorians during the Grand Period were the new Novelty Jewelry items with their depictions of flowers and commonplace household items.
A large part of this Novelty Jewelry craze were the Reverse Crystal Intaglios. created by carving into a Rock Crystal Cabochon, painting the carving and sealing it with a Mother-of-Pearl backing.

Cheaply produced imitations of this art form, cut in glass, soon destroyed the market.


1877: Successful experiments with chemical manufacture of very small Rubies and Sapphires in Paris, published by Fremy.
1877: Aucoc buys Parisian firm 'Lobjois' and changes it's name to 'La Maison Aucoc'
1878: Paris Exposition Universelle.
Antique Victorian Beetle Brooch with Rose Cut Diamonds and Cabochon Cut Garnets, Rose Gold and Silver, ca.1865. 

Another popular motif in jewelry during the Grand eriod was the realistically created Insect Jewelry. Set with multi-colored gemstones, these flies, wasps, dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, bees and spiders were everywhere.
Bees were the Emblem of Prince Victor Bonaparte which made them very fashionable in France.

1878: Patent for Platinum-Tipped Prongs for setting Diamonds.
1878: Earring Covers for Diamond Earrings patented.
1878: Tiffany Diamond discovered in South Africa.
A carved opal, enamel and gold brooch, circa 1860 Set with five opal cameos, two carved to depict maidens in classical costume, three depicting warriors, each within a blue enamel border with white spot detail, to a gold scrolled surround with blue and red guiloché enamel detail, some enamel damage, one opal cracked, length 9.6cm.


Opals in the Victorian Grand Period were always considered bad luck.
A rumor started regarding the bad luck of the Opal. A novel by Sir Walter Scott, 'Anne of Geierstein', written in 1829, that featured an Opal hair ornament that brought bad luck to its owner.
Sir Walter Scott was very popular with the Victorians, so this rumor spread and the Opals fate was sealed.
Following a movement led by the Queen and a major Opal discovery in the British Territory of Australia in 1870, Opals were once again a popular stone.


1878: Tiffany & C0. awarded Gold Medal for Encrusted Metals Technique in the Japanesque Style at Paris Exhibition.
1878: Unger Bros. of Newark, NJ, begins the manufacture of Silver Jewelry.
1879: T.A. Edison patents Incandescent Light Bulb.


Victorian Silver Cuff Bracelet from England, circa 1860-1880. Sterling silver, yellow and roerse gold. 1.25 inches wide.

Silver enjoyed a renewed popularity with the Victorians, with the discovery of Silver in Virginia City, Nevada in the 1860's, which brought down the price and was available in good quantities.
Large heavy necklaces and lockets were produced in Silver and became the most stylish day wear items in the 1880's.
Celtic and Scotch jewelry was still fashionable and created predominantly in silver.


1879: Hiddenite, green variety of Spodumene, found in North Carolina, USA.
1879: Gem Expert George Frederick Kunz joins Tiffany & Co.
1880: Rational Dress Society founded in Great Britain.

Lovely victorian Costume Jewelry,necklace and earrings

Gas and steam engines found their way into jewelry workshops which started a new revolution in jewelry called 'Secondary Jewelry or Costume Jewelry'.
Karat Gold and Rolled Gold replaced the use of Gilt Metal in this lower priced jewelry. These new processes also replaced the use of Pinchbeck.
The invention of the electric light in the 1880's caused brightly colored jewelry to almost disappear from the Victorian ladies wardrobe.
Victorian women loved their Diamond jewelry and it was perfect for wearing under the new lighting.
Victorian jewelers were now concentrating more on the gemstone and the settings were becoming less elaborate than the jewelry from the past.


1880: Cecil Rhodes establishes DeBeers Mining Company in South Africa (Renamed Debeers Consolidated Mines in 1888).
1880: Mass production of Wrist Watches begins in Switzerland, Introduced in the USA in 1895. Manufacture starts around 1907.
1881: First electrically lit theatre, The Savoy, opens in London.

Victorian Urn brooch with locket back...urn possibly created to hold loved ones hair or cremated remains....circa 1840-60

A major influence in Victorian English Jewelry was the Mourning of Queen Victoria. Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent passed away in 1861, followed later the same year by the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
The observation of the traditional mourning periods resulted in a dramatic change in fashion and jewelry and the Victorians followed a strict protocol.
Popular Gems for Mourning Jewelry included: Amethysts, Cabochon Garnet, Rock Crystal, Opal, Ruby, Diamonds, Pearls and Tortoise Shell. Popular materials included: Jet, Onyx, Gutta-Percha, Vulcanite, French Jet (Glass) and Bog Oak.

1882: Blue Sapphires discovered in Kashmir, N. India
1883: Metropolitan Opera House opens in New York City.
1884: Sotirious Bulgari opens shop in Rome, Italy.

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The Jewelry....Victorian Grand Period 1860-1885

Early Victorian jewelers used light, delicate designs with elaborate engravings. These styles eventually evolved into the heavier, less expensive designs that have come to mean Victorian. The Mid-Victorian period displayed bolder, and brighter jewelry, introducing both day and evening wear. Day jewelry consisted of classical motifs. Diamonds and other sparkling colorless faceted gems were created for evening wear. The pieces were set in highly detailed Etruscan frames made entirely by hand.
 Daguerreotype of a Young Woman Hands Crossed Showing Off All Her Jewelry 1860s

Diamond and cabochon turquoise tiara, c1860 by Mellerio dits Meller. With detachable brooch fittings.

The beautiful Tiara like the one above was revived again in the Grand Period of the 1860's, which included wonderful wreaths of Gold created in the Louis XVI Style, 
The 1870's herald the arrival of the Tiara Russe (from French: "russian tiara") a unique Tiara with a Diamond Spike motif.
Wonderful brooches were also pinned in the hair and elaborate combs in Tortoise Shell pierced the Chignon or stretched to great lengths as Bandeau.
A yellow gold and amethyst parure composed of necklace, pendant, earrings and a bracelet. Diamond inlay on amethysts. England, around 1850.

Many wonderful jewels were created during the Archaeological Revival period and Parures (from the French verb,parer, meaning to adorn) were very popular with the Victorian ladies. 
Diamond and Gemstone Suites with a Brooch and Earrings or Pendant and Earrings were everywhere, but Full Parures of precious stones were rare.
Beautiful Demi-Parures with adaptable Brooch/Pendants and Earrings that could double as Choker elements were very much in style.
Antique Victorian pendant earrings. Classic Revival Neo-Etruscan. Gold and diamonds. Made circa 1860-1880,

Earrings were an essential jewelry item in the Victorian Grand Period and styles fluctuated widely throughout the era.
The Archaeological Revival during the Grand Period saw many Earring motifs, Gold Amphorae and drops decorated with Granulation, twisted wire and Rosettes.
Hoops, Drops, Spheres, Crosses, Flowers and Stars were all favorite subjects for Earrings.
A lapis lazuli, pearl and diamond fringe necklace, circa 1860 The snake-link chain suspending to the front three lapis lazuli and rose-cut diamond urns, each suspended from pearl and rose-cut diamond star motifs and polished snake head surmounts, spaced by snake-link swags

Shorter necklaces with flexible tubular links suspending a pendant or two were very much in style.
Motifs from Ancient Greek and Etruscan civilizations inspired Urns, Amphorae and Masks while the Egyptian and Classical Archelogy provided inspiration for the use of Enamel, Mosaics, Cameo and Intaglios in necklace design.
Beautiful necklaces such as the 'Le On Tin Chain'(named for a famous actress of the period) was made of Woven Gold Ribbon that suspended a Watchhook on one end and a Tassel on the other. This necklace was wrapped around the neck with the two ends joined by a slide in the front. 
A Magnificent & Larger Scale Victorian Pearl & Diamond Brooch, Designed as a sunburst with fringes lavishly decorated throughout with pearls, diamonds totaling approximately 6.75 carats, and black enamel. The articulated fringe section is connected via a system of hooks and can be removed to wear the sunburst section by itself. 18 karat France 1860s.

Brooches and Pins were very popular during the Victorian Grand Period. Round Brooches were produced c.1860's with a central cabochon (The phrase en cabochon (from French: knob) is the term applied to a gemstone with a smooth, domed top.) or enameled dome in a decorative frame. 
Brooches often doubled as Pendants. To facilitate this Victorian jewelers changed the orientation of the brooch from horizontal to vertical.
Celtic and Scottish Pebble Brooches continued to intrigue fashionable Victorians.
A Victorian garnet, pearl and diamond pendent, set to the centre with four triangular cabochon-cut garnets between rose-cut diamond-set cross and natural pearl surround, with cabochon-cut garnet and rose-cut diamond loop, all set in a yellow gold mount with brooch fittings and locket, circa 1860.

Pendants were the favored neck ornament of the era. Pearls, suspended from chains and ribbons. Lozenge-shapes and cruciforms were beautifully enameled in the Renaissance Style and gem-set.
Memorial and Sentimental Pendants/Lockets became a very important fashion accessory on both sides of the Atlantic.
Beautiful Closed Silver Lockets appeared in the late 1870's.
Gold, enamel and diamond bracelet, 1860s - The articulated band suspending tassels, applied with guilloché enamel and highlighted with circular-cut and rose diamonds, length approximately 165mm, French assay and indistinct maker's marks.

The well dressed Victorian woman loved Bracelets and usually wore them in multiples. Fabulous Bracelets of Gold, rendered with Curb Links, Ships Cable Links or Flexible Links with a central gem-set motif or with a decorated buckle.
Wonderful and creative Bangles designed as wide Gold Bands with a central plaque or motif were in high demand.
Antique Victorian diamond, emerald and demantoid garnet ring. "This ring is a lovely example of the superb craftsmanship and elegant design found in the best Victorian jewelry. It also reflects the use of a “new” stone for the period: the green demantoid garnet, discovered ca. 1860. The combination of green garnets and diamonds was very fashionable during the late Victorian period, as was the whimsical stylized floral motif. ca. 1880's.

Rings were still very popular with the Victorians. Rings with wide Gold Bands usually featured a central Star-Set or Claw-Set gem. Stones with Star-Set gems were also very popular.
Gypsy-Set rings that could disguise a Doublet Stone or protect a valuable one turned up c. 1875.
Coiled Snake Rings with gem studded heads were still popular.


Fortunato Pio Catellani 1793-1865 Alessandro Castellani 1824-1883 Augusto Castellani 1829-1914 1814 Son of a jeweller, Fortunato Castellani entered his father's Rome workshop 1816 By the age of 20 was a manufacturing goldsmith in Rome. 1820s He befriended Michaelangelo Caetini a famous archaeologist who later became the Duke of Sermoneta. A man of considerable wealth & influence he inspired Fortunato and his 2 sons to produce jewels of antique & archaelogical inspiration

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