At AC Silver we are pleased to be able to offer our customers a large collection of Victorian brooches encrusted with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and other precious gemstones.
Our range of Victorian brooches includes pins, bar brooches, gemstone, diamond and sweetheart examples. All of our items are in excellent presentation condition and are of the highest quality of their type which we have discovered.
All purchases from AC Silver’s extensive Victorian brooch collection are provided with free national and international, express shipping.
One of the most prominent brooch styles of the Victorian era is the sweetheart brooch. Given to ladies by husbands leaving for or arriving home from military service, these brooches represent a very romantic moment in jewellery history. They were crafted to be beautiful miniaturised and stylised versions of military medals. Wearing a sweetheart brooch allowed Victorian women to show their pride in their husbands, as well as keep them close at heart while they were away.
The crescent moon style was also exceedingly popular in the Victorian period. This style persists today, but it was originally created in the 19th century. Crescent moon shapes have become incredibly popular in jewellery today, and owning an antique Victorian crescent moon brooch is still a rarity, however.
Archaeological progress was exceptional in the Victorian era. New discoveries from a range of ancient societies led to increased interest in styles long since passed. Cameo brooches emerged as a result of the popularity of ancient cultures. Ancient Greek and Roman jewellery both featured the cameo style, and so Victorians were eager to emulate this aesthetic. In these brooches, natural materials like shell and hardstone are carved into to create either a cameo or an intaglio – where the surface is convex or concave. These brooches feature portraits, typically of young women, either in bust form or as part of a scene.
Although many Americans refer to all brooches as pins, these were actually two different styles of brooch to Victorians. A pin was often used to fix a hairstyle in place, or secure a lady’s hat properly into place. When not being used for these purposes, however, it was common to see brooches worn on jacket lapels just like other brooches. Victorian pins are slender, long, and usually quite sharp – essential for piercing thick fabrics commonly used at the time. The focal point of the pin would feature small decoration. This ranges from a single gemstone, to a plain metal design, to stylistic shapes such as horseshoes and birds.
The Victorian period had changing fashions that shifted in sequence with Queen Victoria’s own life. When she was a young woman, new to the title of queen, jewellery was largely flowery. Floral motifs and animal motifs were especially popular. Coloured enamels were frequently used to accent brooches from this time, representing colourful petals.
Styles in the midst of the Victorian era were extravagant and romantic. Love hearts were very common in brooches from this period. Snakes were also a popular Victorian image representing romance; snake brooches from the Victorian period are very popular today. Brooches were usually larger and bolder than the earlier examples. As gem cutting advanced, the stones used in brooches were of a higher quality. Bigger gemstones in more sophisticated cuts were used as features in brooches during this time.
When the queen’s husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861, the queen’s mourning began. The influence Queen Victoria had over popular culture in her life cannot be understated. The popularity of mourning jewellery soared after the prince died. Victoria wore black for the rest of her life, publicly mourning for 40 years. Victorian mourning jewellery utilised dark materials like black enamel, jet, onyx, and agate to allow women to display their sorrow without words. Collectors of Victorian jewellery often seek out mourning jewellery for its uniqueness and gothic beauty.
An original Victorian brooch can be identified by both its style and its clasp.
The typical style of clasp for a Victorian piece is a C clasp; however through time many people have replaced the pins and clasps to incorporate further features of security.
The popular styles of jewellery in the Victorian period were intimately connected with different stages of Queen Victoria's life. The use of certain motifs and gemstones reflect the nature of the period.