Victorian Yellow Gold 14K Ruby Ring part of our fine jewelry series, this yellow gold ring is a unique and desirable collectors piece that will add fabulous character to your collection. The rubies and filigree setting are a lovely design from the Victorian Aesthetic Period. This piece bears the 14K stamp. Wear it alone or layer with other pieces to create a dramatic statement piece.
In very good vintage condition
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ERA: Victorian Aesthetic Period, 1885 -1902
DIMENSIONS: Ring Size 8
MATERIALS:14K yellow gold, 3 rubies
FACTS & HISTORY: Victorian jewelry originated in England. Victorian jewelry was produced during the reign of Queen Victoria, whose reign lasted from 1837 to 1901. Queen Victoria was an influential figure who established the different trends in Victorian jewelry. The amount of jewelry acquired throughout the Victorian era established a person’s identity and status. Within the Victorian period, jewelry consisted of a diverse variety of styles and fashions. These periods can be categorized into three distinct timeframes: The Romantic period, the Grand period and the Aesthetic period.
Victorian Romantic Period 1850 -1860
Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century. In most parts of Europe, it was at its peak from approximately 1800 to 1850. Romanticism is marked by a focus on individualism, an emphasis on nature, emotion over reason, freedom of form, and an exploration of the Gothic and unknown. Advances in technology, the growing middle class, discovery of gold in California and Australia and a change in the social climate resulted in more jewelry being produced during the nineteenth century than in all prior history. Women overtook men as the primary jewelry wearers and they wore it in great volume. Production of memento, religious and talismanic jewelry was unsurpassed and these items were suddenly a necessity for everyone.
The early years of the Victorian era reflected the youth of the new Queen. This was a time of courtship and marriage for Victoria. Themes inspired by the Renaissance and the Middle Ages were everywhere in jewelry design and motifs from nature dominated the period. Bouquets of flowers, branches, leaves, grapes, and berries were conspicuously featured in jewelry. Symbolism associated with flowers was prominently in evidence. Serpent motifs were at their apex. Popular since antiquity, snake jewelry served as a bold symbol of wisdom and eternity.
The jewelry from the early part of this period was completely handmade. Prior to 1854, there were only two gold standards allowed for hallmarking with the crown, 22 karat, and 18 karat. Consequently, high-karat gold, tri-color gold, and silver comprised the main metals used. After 1854 less expensive karat gold, 9, 12 and 15 karat, was legalized to make English jewelry more competitive in the international market.
The death of Queen Victoria’s beloved Albert and the onset of America’s Civil War marked the end of the lighthearted mood of the Romantic Period.
Victorian Grand Period: 1861-1885
In spite of the prevalent themes of death and war, the Victorian Grand Period was one of exploration, prosperity, and revival. The jewelry of the times reflected these themes as archaeologists continued to uncover ancient treasures and women were more present in the work force doing clerical and administrative tasks. Stimulated by our primeval roots, jewelers incorporated newly uncovered motifs into their works. Ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian designs inspired cameos carved with culturally inspired symbols and the likenesses ancient rulers. Discovery of the Etruscan ruins revived a metal technique that employed fine, beaded granulation.
The period was punctuated by substantial jewelry pieces that boasted of new wealth and fortune. Industry boomed as factories rose up, and millionaires were born seemingly overnight. Acorns, bells, birds, bees, crosses, crescents, hearts, daisies, stars, shield shapes and geometric forms were all common motifs during the Grand Period. Monograms were also a popular motif, notably when they appeared on lockets.
Victorian Aesthetic Period 1885 -1902
Queen Victoria of England mourned the death of her husband, Prince Albert, from 1861 until her death in 1901. However, her subjects tired of the stiff and brooding decorum of those Middle Victorian GrandPeriod years before that point. By 1885, they kicked off its heavy trappings and ushered in the Late Victorian or Aesthetic Period.
Most Aesthetic Period jewelry was machine produced. Manufacturers stamped their marks on these pieces. However, many jewelers resented the onslaught of mass production and returned to hand fabrication. The heavy jewelry of the Grand Period didn't fit well with women's new active lifestyles. Therefore, women's jewelry became lighter and smaller. Delicate rings, bracelets, and pins replaced the heavy opulence of previous years. Etruscan and Egyptian revival themes continued to fascinate jewelry enthusiasts. Aesthetic Period pieces also featured Oriental and sporting themes. Popular motifs included the following: animal heads, barrels, bows, clovers, crescents, horseshoes, knots, oak leaves, owls, quatrefoils, stars, trefoils, and wishbones. Designers often combined double hearts with crowns or knots.