With Halloween fast approaching, we thought it was only right to talk about spooky jewellery, with a focus on the history behind insect and mourning jewellery. We have also delved into our historic Halloween jewellery collection over on our YouTube channel too, the video features many Victorian and Georgian jewels as well as jewellery that’s over two hundred years old!
Insect jewellery was partly inspired by the Ancient Egyptians. Commonly known as a dung beetle, the Scarab is famous for representing existence, development and growth as well as the cycle of life and death. It was also seen as a form of protection. With the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, 100 years ago this Autumn, there was a surge of Egyptian influences in fashion, art and jewellery design. Scarab beetles became a popular motif along with other Egyptian symbols.
This wonderful and rare antique Scarab beetle pin is fully hallmarked for Birmingham 1913 during the Egyptian revival movement. This rare and collectable pin would make a great collectors item to either add to or start an Egyptian inspired collection!
However, not all insect jewellery came from Egyptian influences. It was in the 1860’s that insects started to become very popular, Victorian women would wear beetles and other insect motifs on their clothes and accessories. A renewed love of nature and the countryside was often romanticised, because of the industrial revolution bringing drastic alterations in society and culture. We have three Victorian bug brooches, a Spider, a Butterfly and a Dragonfly. They were worn by the wearer during the Victorian era as a symbol of good luck.
This collectable antique insect brooch is the newest addition to our collection it features two green chalcedony gemstones, set with pearl wings and red paste eyes, in silver. This cute and quality brooch dates to the late Victorian – Edwardian era circa.1900. In ancient times butterflies symbolised life, love and beauty. The transition of a caterpillar into in a butterfly links the creature to ideas of freedom and new beginnings.
In our collection we have an insect bug brooch which is antique style. This quality antique style bee brooch features two aquamarines and many rose cut diamonds set in silver gilded in 18ct gold. This piece is versatile as it can either be worn as a brooch or pendant, with a bail to the reverse.
For centuries, the bee has been a motif that is rich in meanings. It is a symbol of hard work and orderliness and the bee has such longevity that bee brooches and other bee-related jewellery remain popular even centuries later from when they were first introduced.
During the Victorian era mourning jewellery became popular. When Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert died in 1861, she fell into long depression. Queen Victoria spent much of the next four decades wearing mourning jewellery. Victorian hair jewellery was a popular feature in mourning jewellery, this is when the item contained locks of a loved one’s hair.
The Victorians believed that hair had a sacred quality because it contained something of the essence of the person, it also symbolised immortality.
This Georgian snake brooch features a plaited lock of hair behind glass, inside a snake ouroboros, set in 9ct Gold throughout. An Ouroboros is a snake or dragon biting its own tail, it has existed as an image of eternity since ancient times, and remained popular when this brooch was made two hundred years ago. Hair jewellery was also traditional 200 years ago and was used as a token of remembrance. This piece is a real conversation starter!
In our mourning collection we also have a pin and a brooch both from the Georgian era featuring plaited locks of hair.
Hair was also used to make miniature scenes in jewellery. Popular motifs to symbolise grief were willows, angels, clouds, initials, to name a few.
This rare Georgian mourning ring features a sepia of an urn and willow tree with hair work as the leaves, modelled in 9ct yellow gold. The sepia is cased under a crystal face and surrounded by a halo of garnets. Dating to circa.1800 this quality ring would make a sentimental gift or a great addition to any collection.
In our collection we have another true piece of history, this rare antique mourning ring features the initials ‘SH’ on a plain oval gold front, hiding a hidden locket compartment and dating to Birmingham 1899.
This ring is very rare and special, the locket can also hold a photograph or other small keepsake making a beautiful piece to keep in memory of a loved one.
The last jewellery piece we are going to talk about is a recent addition to our collection.
This rare antique Georgian ring features a central locket of woven hair surrounded by a halo of flat cut garnets, modelled in 15ct yellow gold. Garnet also represents the birthstone for January and the stone celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage. This would have originally been commissioned as a remembrance or mourning piece over 190 years ago.
Thank you for reading our spooky Halloween jewellery collection – we hope you enjoyed!