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NADFAS REVIEW/ SPRING 2010 41

VICTORIAN JEWELLERYSparklingconversationMany of you have heard mespeak on Victorian jewellery atlectures and study days. Youhave often asked me if I have written abook on the subject and now finally, Ican answer yes. Jewellery in the Age ofVictoria: A Mirror to the Worldwill bepublished in late April and will revealhow the Victorians used jewellery andwhat it meant to them, both literally andmetaphorically. More than any otherbranch of the applied arts, jewellery inthe period from 1830 to 1901 reflectedthe preoccupations and aspirations of its owners. The book is written jointly withCharlotte Gere, a former colleague andmy main co-author on the catalogue ofthe Hull Grundy Gift of jewellery, andcontains three decades of research,enabling us to offer a new approach. We begin with the life of Queen Victoriaas seen through her jewellery. Herinfluence, not only on her subjects, butacross the world, was colossal. Subsequent themes deal with the roleof jewellery, its relation to dress andfashion, and its hidden messages. Itssignificance to its owners is revealed injewels offered in celebration of eventsVictorian jewellery wasn't just pretty -it also provided an important means of communicating the preoccupations and aspirations of the owner.NADFAS lecturer Judy Rudoetells us about the new book she has co-authored which reveals how pieces from that time could convey humour,scientific achievements or even topical news stories42NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2010www.nadfas.org.ukand intimate friendships, and inkeepsakes for mourning rituals andmemorials to the dead. We have mined the writings of JaneCarlyle, Elizabeth Barrett Browning,Harriet Beecher Stowe, Americanheiresses and many others to bring thesubject to life. Literary analysis revealshow novelists used jewellery to buildcharacter or to add to the plot. Fromfamiliar authors such as George Eliot tothe novelist Charlotte Yonge, who isbarely read today, we have selectedinstances where the implications ofchoices of clothes or jewels would havebeen immediately apparent to theirreaders. Portraits add a furtherdimension: each jewel can be decoded,disclosing a language lost to a modern audience. On an international level, nationalismplayed a huge role in the revival ofhistorical styles, and politics was ever-present. When Queen Victoria visitedNapoleon III and Empress Eugénie inParis in 1855 to see France's firstinternational exhibition in answer toBritain's Great Exhibition of 1851, thetwo royal ladies played out the battle fornational supremacy though theirRight from top:Bee brooch withtwo cravat-pins:one a fly, theother a bee withthe pun 'Don'tbe(e) cross';parure of palepink 'angel's skin'coral c1860-70; brooch in theform of a Zulushield with atrophy of Zuluweapons,JohnBrogden, c1879