The Victorian Aesthetic Era

Imagine yourself in the latter half of the 19th century. The industrial revolution has well and truly gripped Great Britain; factories become a dominant force in the labour market, cities become polluted with smoke abd whilst the country as a whole became a powerhouse of the world, living conditions for many, were grim.

Against that backdrop, the aesthetic movement was a form of escapism. Works of art and literature sought to highlight the beauty of nature and the natural world.

Well-known asthetes (As they became known) included the architect William Morris and The author and fashion commentator Oscar Wilde, whose imprisonment in 1890 for homosexuality (then a crime) spelled the end of the aesthetic movement, discredited in the eyes of the public.

In jewellery making, we see many pieces influenced by the anaesthetic movement of the latter half of the 19th century. In particular Victorian bangles from this era often display natural settings: swallows, hummingbirds and all sorts of flora and fauna, all designed to look beautiful with no deeper hidden meaning; in other words, beauty for beauty’s sake!

Designs appear on antique Victorian silver bangles as well as gold lockets and brooches, earrings and necklaces. At the Heritage Jewellery Co., we have a number of pieces from this important Victorian era.