Why is it called Love Jewellery?
Love jewellery is in itself what jewellery is all about. The sanctity of marriage is formalised by the giving of a ring. However, it was not until the 18th century when gems flowed in from the Middle East that the engagement ring became popular for those who could afford one. However, Lovers Knots (also known as the Staffordshire knot) and heart shaped items were the usual tokens for the period, made from silver or gold.
In the Regency period is was the fashion to speak French at court, and many items of jewellery were given with precious stones with a meaning, one being ‘Souvenir d’amitie’ or ‘Souvenir d’amour’, or were spelt out in initials, ‘REGARD, being one, ruby, emerald, garnet,amethyst, ruby, diamond. DEAREST was another. Often a lock of hair would be placed into the reverse of a brooch or painted miniature. However, in the reign of Victoria this form of jewellery was frowned upon, and the memorial jewellery superseded romantic jewellery. A popular trait between parting lovers especially soldiers going off to war was the giving of ‘Mizpah’ rings. This comes from the quotation in Genesis, which reads. ‘The Lord watcheth between me and thee when we are rated from one another’
Key and heart lockets were obvious mementos between lovers, the key to unlock the heart, and usually suitably engraved. Women gave their men gold or silver lockets containing hair or portraits in the shape of small pocket watches, probably because Victorian men did not like to show their sentimentality. The shyness and coyness of Victorian women towards birth is manifest in naive little brooches of chickens emerging from eggs or birds on branches. Flowers were oft used to, forget me not flowers obvious in engraved items given to their loved one.
We have many vintage jewellery items in our online stores at Charles Hart and Vintage Tom Please get in touch if you have a question about any of our jewllery or wish to sell your own.