Friday, June 13, 2014

Gifts of Grandeur: Prince Albert’s Bookmark, 1840

Book Mark of Gold and Gemstones
Given by the Duchess of Kent to Prince Albert at his 1840 Wedding to Queen Victoria
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

This handsome bookmark was made in 1840 and was given as a gift by the Duchess of Kent (Queen Victoria’s Mother) to Prince Albert on the day of his marriage to Queen Victoria—February 10.

The gold bookmark was inserted into the prayer book which Prince Albert held on his wedding day. The structure of gold hangs from green silk ribbons. It is set with eight gemstones which spell out the name, “Victoria.” Let’s take a look at it, beginning with the deep red stone at the top, center.
V – Vermillion. This deep red stone is actually a garnet. At the time, it was commonly called “Vermeil” for vermillion as a description of its color. In modern jewelry terms, this can be quite confusing since the term now refers to silver which has been plated in a metallic blend of gold and other alloys. 
I – Jargoon. Yeah, I know. That doesn’t begin with an “I.” However, in 1840, a “J” was often used in place of an “I.” 
C – Chrysolite. Wow. This one actually means what it is and starts with the right letter. 
T – Turquoise. 
O – Opal 
R – Ruby 
I – Jargoon, again. By the way, this is a reddish-amber colored natural zircon. 
A – Amethyst

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