Hand-in-hand; Victorian-era Hand Jewellery

turquoise-and-diamond-cluster-two-hands-clasp-c-1835

Turquoise and diamonds in the form of two hands clasping, circa 1835

 

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. An Early Victorian Gold Clasped Hands Betrothal Ring. The Clasped Hands, which have a male and female cuff, open to reveal a Gold Heart on the central band. Circa 1840.jpg

Flowers had a whole range of meanings, depending on the the types of flowers.

ivory-and-silver-hand-brooch

Ivory hand clasping roses – symbols of love – and forget-me-nots.

hands-with-bouquets-earrings

Ivory earrings clasping roses and forget-me-nots.

Snakes represented eternal love or wisdom.

hand-with-snake

coral-and-gold-brooch

Coral and gold pin

A hand grasping a rod was seeking guidance or comfort in time of need.

ivory-hand-grasping-a-gold-rod

Mourning jewellery often depicted crossed hands, hands in prayer, or hands clasped ‘across the divide between life and death’.

victorian-era-mourning-whitby-jet-brooch-depicting-a-pair-of-crossed-hands

Victorian-era Whitby jet brooch depicting crossed hands.

hair-and-gold-mourning-jewellery

Gold and hair mourning jewellery

 

A hand clasping a key was clasping the key to a lover’s hear.

victorian-15k-gold-watch-key-pendant-circa-1870-with-floral-and-garland-decoration-in-yellow-and-rose-gold

This hand is clasping a key to a watch and was most likely worn as a watch fob. Note the use of tinted gold for the decoration.

 

Pointing hands were charms of protection.

mother-of-pearl-earrings

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!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Fashion, History, Jewellery, Metaphors, Mourning, Steampunk, Symbology, Uncategorized, Victorian-era Fashion

2 responses to “Hand-in-hand; Victorian-era Hand Jewellery

  1. Pingback: Victorian-era Hand Jewellery — | STEAMPUNKAPOTAMUS!

  2. Much such-called mourning jewellery is in fact friendship or lovers jewellery. It was popular to have jewellery made with your hair and offer it to friends and especially lovers. This is especially obvious when you realise there is so little ‘mourning’ jewellery with white hair! The hair ring with a motif of clasped hands is without doubt a lovers ring and has no reason to be identified as a mourning ring. Check out this site :
    http://www.bijouxregionaux.fr/en/contenu.php?idcontenu=7

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s