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Why Was Mourning Jewelry So Popular?: How Queen Victoria's Grief Created a Jewelry Sensation

Tanzy Ward

Although the tradition of wearing 'mourning' jewelry dates back to at least the memento mori accessories of the Middle Ages, the period most associated with the aesthetic is the Grand Era (c.1861-c.1881) of Queen Victoria's reign (c.1837-1901). The Grand Era began when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert passed away from typhoid fever. She went into deep mourning and wore long black crepe dresses and mostly black mourning jewelry for the remainder of her life. Queen Victoria was an admired iconic figure, and her personal style choices influenced a fashionable jewelry trend. Mourning jewelry emphasized sentimental mementos that memorialized departed loved ones. Common...

Sustainable Option: The Preservation & History of Antique Coral Jewelry Collectibles

Tanzy Ward

Throughout history, coral jewelry has been used in ancient societies for a variety of reasons. Historically, coral was often used for sentimental adornments, which included serving as 'good luck' protection from illnesses & pandemics that were common. Coral accessories that are thousands of years old can be found in many different ancient societies, which includes Egypt, Rome, Greece, and China. In America, Native American tribes were first introduced to red coral through the Spaniards during the 16th century. One of the most highly sought after and collected coral is found in the Mediterranean waters, and is often called 'blood coral' due...

Historic Preservation Month Highlight: Collecting Eventful Memories with Antique Jewelry

Tanzy Ward

The historical significance and events connected with antique jewelry are key components of it's preservation value. While analyzing the intriguing jewelry trends of the 19th century, the craftsmanship & intricate details are unparalleled and of high quality. The era was also a time of fascinating events and innovative ideas. Historically preserving these collectibles are important and pertinent due to the jewelry being at least over a century old, and many of the original pieces are becoming increasingly rare with time. Many authentic antique jewelry collectibles were not properly preserved and were destroyed with time or heavily damaged. These jewelry collectibles tell diverse stories and...

Original or Imitation? Tips For Identifying Authentic Antique Jewelry

Tanzy Ward

When I first began curating antique jewelry, sometimes it would be challenging trying to authenticate antique period era items from reproduction-styles. There is nothing wrong with replica styles and paying homage to original pieces, but collectors like myself are in love with actual memory-filled historic jewelry from the past. Of course, there are true vintage jewelry styles that were inspired by earlier times, such as the Victorian-Revival era of the 1970's & 80's. These Victorian-Revival era pieces are at least 30-40 years old, and were designed to resemble jewelry from the original Victorian era (c.1837-1901). As the years and eras...

The Art Nouveau Movement's Enduring Legacy

Tanzy Ward

The Art Nouveau Movement (c.1890-c.1915) was created in France and short lived due partly to the onset of World War 1 (1914-1918). The designs of The Art Nouveau Era (which means 'New Art') were inspired by the natural world. Popular motifs included insects such as butterflies and dragon flies. Often times in Art Nouveau jewelry, the pieces emphasized a woman's physical features, being surrounded in a serene nature setting, and mythical creatures such as mermaids. The artistic merit and natural beauty of semi-precious stones were emphasized in Art Nouveau jewelry as opposed to value. Moonstones, opals, amethyst, malachite, and enamel...