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French revolution in 1789 interrupted dramatically making and wearing of jewelry in France. During this time possession of jewelry indicated aristocratic status which meant death penalty. In Paris the only acceptable adornments were crude commemorative pieces made from stone or metal fragments of the Bastille. In 1798 Paris company of Goldsmiths reinstated and jewelry industry was reborn. New designs were inspired by traditional French peasant jewelry, using filigree, seed pearls and stones. Ladies usually wore long pendant earrings and long chains around neck.
With proclamation of Empire in 1804 jewelry came back for good. Napoleon’s wife – Josephine was to become a great leader of fashion and a major patron of the jewelry houses. Women wore sets of jewelry including necklace, a pair of bracelets, pendant earrings, a belt clasp and hair ornaments. Jewelers used for their designs large precious stones including diamonds, emeralds, cornelian, pearls, rubies and sapphires.
In 1804 Napoleon established a French school of gem engraving. French court wore mostly cameo jewelry combined with diamonds and set in gold. French people along with traditional jewelry also liked to wear parures set with Italian micomosaic plaques, which remained fashionable throughout Europe until mid 1870s.
In Germany the most distinctive material used in jewelry was Berlin iron, made by the Royal Prussian Iron Foundry. Intricate panels of scrollwork, foliage, Classical medallions and Gothic tracery were cast in very fine sand, linked together and then lacquered black. This sophisticated form of jewelry was usually very expensive.
In England, British women of the court on occasion wore magnificent suites of diamond jewelry. For everyday use women chose strings of pearls and sentimental pieces. For morning visits it was customary to wear only a watch, earrings and a gold chain. For evening visits jewelry set with aquamarine, topaz, garnets, agate, opals and cornelian was considered suitable. Wedding rings were usually in form of plain gold band worn together with enameled keeper ring to keep it safe. Many different types of jeweled head ornaments were also popular. The usual shape for a necklace was now a single string of pearls or stones, often with pendant drops all round. Festoon necklaces comprised usually a set of cameo or mosaic plaques, linked together by strands of fine chain carefully measured so that they fell in graceful curves.
Jewelers chose naturalistic motifs for their designs including flowers, butterflies, vines and birds. Many were also inspired by ancient styles reintroduced by many archeological discoveries. The new style was called “archeological style”. The most famous firm working in the archeological style was Castellani of Rome. Their knowledge of ancient jewelry won them an international reputation as antiquarians and restorers. As internationally recognized jewelers they opened stores in London and Paris. Castellani specialized in necklaces of woven gold wire with fringe of rosettes and hollow seed-shaped pendants. Precious stones were used rarely and color was provided by enamel, cameos or cornelian.
Archeological style was inspired by many cultures once existing in ancient times. Also Celtic jewelry from the VIIIth and XIXth centuries played important role in archeological style. Jewelers copied Celtic designs in large brooches and necklaces. During the 1830s ferronnieres – a jewel worn on a ribbon across the forehead became very fashionable.
Although Japanese had no tradition of making and wearing jewelry, in the late XIXth century, Japan contributed their pieces to jewelry exhibition in London. Japanese developed a high skills of metalworking and their pieces were usually admired. Japanese goldsmiths specialized in sword mounts traditionally made of a dark metal inlaid with gold, silver and copper. Plaques showing figures in a landscape, birds and flowers were mounted as brooches and pendants. Panels of brightly colored cloisonné enamel were also set in jewelry for export to Europe.
Scottish jewelry was popularized by the Romantic movement and by Queen Victoria’s enthusiasm for that country. Heart shaped brooches previously worn by poorer Scots were now produced in more elaborate versions. Irish souvenirs (round towers, harps and shamrocks), were made of specially hardened and blackened oak.
Up to the mid XIXth century all Western jewelry had been designed and made in Europe. Later in XIXth century America and Australia contributed their designs and styles to the jewelry industry. The XIXth century was an age of enormous jewelry variety. Designers experimented with ideas and models, old and new, naturalism and other styles.