Victorian Jewelry Symbolism

The Victorian Era

If the Victorians were anything, they were thoughtful and symbolic. Every action and image had its place in sending a message. When courting a woman, a young man would have gone through a series of small trials before even sitting in the same room with a woman and her chaperone. We’ve departed from some of these customs, but some things never fade.

Victorian Era Courtship


Victorian Symbolism

Sterling Secret Heart Bangle Bracelet

Sterling Secret Heart Bangle, Detailed View

In our modern society, we are often drawn to Victorian love symbols, perhaps without even knowing their origins. For example, hearts and arrows are common motifs in Victorian jewelry just as they are in modern pieces.

However, there are many uncommon, distinctly Victorian symbols, including hands, ivy, and the occasional snake or lizard. The complex way the Victorians would weave these symbols was like sending a love note for everyone to see. Deciphering that love note might be for just one person to know and for many others to guess.

Where Symbolism and Jewelry Meet

Victorian Acrostic Ring, Reads "REGARD"

Victorian Acrostic Ring, Reads “REGARD”

Just like we might make a bouquet of flowers using lilacs for our new sweethearts and pansies for the ones we can’t get off our minds, the Victorians also left with us acrostic jewelry. Using carefully picked gemstones, they sent their loved ones hidden love notes in an assortment of jewelry. “REGARD” is often the most common using Rubies (R), Emeralds (E), Garnet (G), Amethyst (A), Rubies (R), and Diamond (D) to spell out “REGARD”. Using this code you can get very creative to tell your “DEAREST” you “ADORE” them.

Another common love sentiment was creating jewelry made from a loved one’s hair. This was often done to memorialize a person who had passed away, but it was not uncommon to see a lock of a special person’s hair trapped between the cloth and glass of a locket. Some of the more intricate pieces wove the hair into very delicate designs.

Argo & Lehne Victorian Hair Pin

Argo & Lehne Victorian Hair Pin

Victorian Jewelry Today

We at Argo & Lehne are very fortunate to sell beautiful Victorian jewelry. From cameos with various motifs to delicately crafted pins of woven hair, we’ve seen myriad examples of romantic pieces. Reading each piece can feel like discovering someone’s romance.

Stop into Argo & Lehne today to view our Victorian pieces and full line of vintage jewelry.