The Victorian Era was a time of great cultural and artistic flourishing in England, and this was reflected in the jewelry of the time. During the Victorian Era, a middle class began to emerge, which sparked a demand for jewelry in the mass market. Jewelry trends during this time often reflected the tone of current events.
The Victorian Era is usually divided into three subsections: the Romantic Period (1837-1861), the Grand Period (1861-1880), and the Aesthetic Period (1880-1901).
During the Romantic Period, jewelry featured nature-inspired designs similar to those of the Georgian era, and was characterized by its intricate and delicate detailing. Lockets and brooches were popular for daytime wear, while colored gemstones and diamonds were worn in the evening.
During the Grand Period, known as the Mid-Victorian era, jewelry was often influenced by the death of Queen Victoria's husband. Many jewelry pieces from this period have solemn, somber designs and feature heavy, dark stones such as jet, onyx, amethyst, and garnet. This period also saw the emergence of highly creative, colorful designs using shells, mosaics, and gemstones.
During the Aesthetic Period, jewelers used diamonds and feminine, bright gemstones such as sapphire, peridot, and spinel. Star and crescent designs, as well as elaborate hat pins, were also popular. Some scholars believe that the Aesthetic Period began earlier, in 1875, and ended as early as 1890.
Opal is a gemstone that is known for its unique and stunning appearance. It is composed of microscopic cristobalite spheres arranged in layers within an amorphous hydrous silica jelly, which gives it its unique crystal habit.
One of the most striking features of opal is its play-of-color, which is the way that light is refracted by the microscopic spheres within the gemstone. This refraction creates an array of vivid colors, ranging from red and orange to yellow, green, blue, and purple. The play-of-color is what makes opal such a beautiful and desirable gemstone, and it is one of the main reasons that it is so highly prized.
There are many different types of opal, including black opal, white opal, and fire opal. Black opal is the most valuable and sought-after type, as it has the most intense play-of-color. White opal is less valuable, but it is still prized for its beauty and is often used in jewelry and other decorative objects. Fire opal is a type of opal that is characterized by its deep orange or red color and is often used in jewelry.
Opal is found in a few different locations around the world, including Australia, Mexico, and the United States. It is a relatively soft and brittle gemstone, and it requires careful handling and protection to preserve its beauty. Despite its delicate nature, opal is a popular and highly valued gemstone that is used in a wide range of jewelry and decorative objects.
14k gold is a popular choice for use in jewelry because it is durable, yet still relatively affordable compared to higher karat golds like 18k or 24k. It is made up of 58.5% pure gold and is mixed with other metals to make it harder and more durable. 14k gold is available in a range of colors, including yellow, white, and rose, and is commonly used in a variety of jewelry pieces such as rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. One of the advantages of 14k gold is that it is more resistant to wear and tear than pure gold, which makes it suitable for everyday wear. However, it is still softer than other alloys such as stainless steel or platinum, so it may require more maintenance to keep it looking its best. Overall, 14k gold is a popular choice for those who want the look and feel of gold, but at a more affordable price point.