Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Grapevine Necklace, 1840-1850

London, 1840-1850
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The mid-Nineteenth Century saw an upsurge in jewels designed in naturalistic shapes. This trend was made all the more fashionable by Queen Victoria who had several pieces, many of them designed by her husband, Prince Albert, in the form of flowers, fruit or animals. This necklace is a perfect example. Here, we see a necklace in the form of vines laden with grapes and leaves. It is constructed of enameled gold mounted with amethysts.  We've looked at other examples of "grapevine" jewelry before, but those have been made with pearls, this is one step further in the fashion of naturalism.

This type of naturalistic jewelry emerged with the Romantic movement in the early 19th century and steadily grew in popularity, remaining popular for many decades. This piece is part of a suite which includes a matching pair of earrings.

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