Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Victorian Agate Jewelry

By the mid-Victorian era, jewelry had become affordable to the ‘mere masses.’ No longer was it the exclusive domain of the upper crust. Consequently, all sorts of experimentation took off in materials to make this middle-class jewelry. The variety is incredible.

Like today, trends often started due to a popular icon’s preferences. One of these jewelry trends was the agate craze because Queen Victoria sentimentally had some agate jewelry made for herself. The popularity of the lowly agate continued for decades.


Agates are definitely correct for your middle-to-upper-class Victorian reenacting impression. Agate jewelry could be found in a variety of price ranges, so many ladies of the 1860s would have been able to afford a piece of agate jewelry. Occasionally I make a pair of agate earrings or bracelets for my Etsy shop.

The brooch in the top photo is a good example of banded agates. It shows the "bands" as definite lines throughout.

Agate earrings were also very popular. (Notice the plain ‘shepherd’s hook’ earwires.) Almost any shape of bead turned out lovely because of the stripes in the rock.

All sorts of jewelry was made from agates. Notice this lovely cross necklace pendant. The light part of the cross would be translucent when held up to the light. 

Using the natural striations of the agates, different effects could be achieved in multi-stone jewelry. Note how the stripes are combined in the bracelet below.

These are all pictures I've found on jewelry sale sites.

Aren't agates beautiful? This is one of Queen Victoria's styles that I love to wear! 

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