The Romantic Period began when Queen Victoria inherited the throne of England at the young age of 21 in 1837. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 and the joy of the young royal couple was seen in jewelry styles in the form of romantic symbols such as hearts, flowers, bows, and birds. These pieces were often highly decorated with enamel and brightly colored gemstones.
Jeweled serpents were also a popular motif. At the time of their marriage, Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria a ring in the form of a serpent eating its own tail, a symbol of eternal love. Another common style was “acrostic” jewelry, which featured rows of different gemstones so that their first letters spelled out words, such as “dear” (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby).
One of the most famous styles of jewelry from the Victorian Romantic Period is the cameo. These silhouettes were made from carved shell or coral and were worn as necklaces, lockets, bracelets or earrings. Cameos were often a gift exchanged by lovers or family members who had to be far apart.