In the Victorian era, jewellery was worn not just for ornamentation, it was often worn because it meant something to both the wearer and/or the people who saw her wearing the piece. Hands were a popular symbol. They could be clasped in love or friendship, or clasping items with their own symbology.
The ring below is an early Victorian-era Betrothal Ring, circa 1840. The Clasped Hands, which have a male and female cuff, open to reveal a gold heart on the central band.
Flowers had a whole range of meanings, depending on the the types of flowers.
Snakes represented eternal love or wisdom.
A hand grasping a rod was seeking guidance or comfort in time of need.
Mourning jewellery often depicted crossed hands, hands in prayer, or hands clasped ‘across the divide between life and death’.
A hand clasping a key was clasping the key to a lover’s hear.
Pointing hands were charms of protection.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this sort of jewellery could be used to intensify characterisation, or even become part of a plot point!