Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Sparkle: Queen Victoria’s Wedding Brooch, 1840

Queen Victoria's Wedding Brooch, 1840
Given by Prince Albert on the day before
their marriage.
The Royal Collection
The day before she wed Prince Albert, Queen Victoria wrote in her journal of a gift given by, “Dearest Albert” of a “splendid brooch—a large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful.” She wore the brooch on her wedding day with her Turkish Diamonds, and continued to wear the brooch on a regular basis until 1861. During her long period of mourning, Queen Victoria rarely wore diamond jewelry.

We’re unsure from where Prince Albert purchased the brooch. Before their union and during the early years of his marriage, he spent a significant amount of money on jewelry for Victoria. His financial records show purchases from notable London jewelers as well as items purchased from dealers abroad. Historians suspect that this gold, diamond and sapphire brooch might have come from Asia.

This brooch is significant in that it set the style for jewelry in the early part of the Victorian era. Pieces which featured a simple setting of a large colored gem surrounded by diamonds became quite the fashion and remained popular for many years. The simplicity of design was meant to give the piece weight and importance—letting the stones speak for themselves. We can see the influence of this piece in later English jewelry designs reaching well into the 1920’s with the fashion of geometric-patterned jewelry in contrasting sapphires and diamonds.

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