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We have the Victorians to thank for some of today’s most popular jewelry motifs, including hearts, serpents, stars and butterflies. These feminine, whimsical themes reflect the prosperity, romanticism and sentimentality that defined the period of Queen Victoria’s British rule, from 1837 until her death in 1901. From old mine diamonds set in silver collets and backed with gold, to hand-chased gold and enamel jewels, to bold colored gemstones worn in fresh and creative ways, Victorian Jewelry displays a range of styles and crafting techniques. Personal jewelry was imbued with meaning, and lockets and rings were symbolic mementos to exchange between family, friends, lovers and spouses.

When Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, died in 1861, she put on her mourning attire and proceeded to wear only black for the rest of her life. This sparked a national fervor for all things dark, including jewels of jet, onyx and garnet.

The Victorians were also fascinated by the romance of faraway times and places. Historical art and architecture, from the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance to the recent archeological discoveries of Ancient Egyptian and Etruscan artifacts, inspired a passion for revival jewelry.



At Fred Leighton we buy and sell vintage jewelry that has stood the test of time. Jewelry with beauty, story and style. Designs that remain as audacious now as ever. If you possess such jewels, we’d love to meet them.

Please contact us to arrange a consultation and discuss the possibilities.

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