Collector's Corner

Latest Estate Acquisitions:
The Glorious Victorian Age

A Celebration
of Britishness

With interest in antique jewellery surging, our latest showcase of estate pieces offers a fascinating insight into a period that is steeped in British history: the Victorian age. Presided over by Queen Victoria, the years 1837 to 1901 marked a transformative period for Great Britain. Over the course of her 63-year reign, she would witness revolutionary breakthroughs in the arts and sciences that shaped the world as we know it today. Victoria’s style was also hugely influential on her subjects, with everyone wanting to emulate the petite but indomitable Queen.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Considered a fashion icon of her time, her mode of dressing and taste in jewels was much imitated in Britain and beyond. Setting the trend for white bridal gowns that went on to become a wedding tradition, her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840 captured the heart of a nation. Their deep love for each other, and Victoria’s openness to expressing it publicly, fuelled the rise of sentimental jewels embellished with romantic motifs.

A small but important segment of our Estate Jewellery Collection is devoted to period Victorian pieces, noted for their unique design, inherent beauty and investment potential. Their generosity of size is especially appealing to collectors, as is the quality of the workmanship. Highly valued in the Victorian age, master craftsmen took great pride in their work, and it shows in the intricacy and detail of all five jewels below.

Easily identifiable & more accessible than estate pieces from other eras, Victorian jewels are very attractive to collectors, who are drawn to their artistry, history & intrinsic Britishness.

- JJ Abram

Victorian Oyster Shell Natural Pearl & Diamond Brooch

The Victorians loved to collect shells, a pursuit known as conchology, with merchants setting up shop in London to sell rare specimens from exotic lands. Discovered by pearl divers in the Arabian Gulf, natural pearls were also highly sought-after throughout the 19th century. 

This exquisite brooch in silver and gold combines both, with a curling oyster shell clasping a natural baroque pearl. It is also worth noting, the old cut diamonds, the shape of which sit somewhere between a round and cushion cut. Unlike the uniform diamonds of today, Victorian diamonds were shaped by hand using rudimentary cutting techniques. To position them in such a way that they pave the entire surface of the brooch would have required great skill and artistry. 

Victorian Pearl
& Diamond Drop Earrings

Queen Victoria was responsible for the Victorians’ predilection for pearls. After the untimely death of her husband in 1861, she entered a period of deep mourning and dressed exclusively in black, except for pearls which were her gem of choice. This led to the long-standing tradition in the British Royal Family of wearing pearls to express grief. Then, as now, natural pearls were in high demand, with jewels designed to show off their beauty. Here, two natural teardrop pearls are the focal point of the earrings, suspended from clusters of old cut diamonds set in blackened silver.

Victorian Diamond
Catherine Wheel

Firework displays were a popular form of Victorian entertainment, with a shower of rockets erupting in the London sky to celebrate Prince Albert’s birthday in 1843. Interpreting a spinning Catherine wheel in antique brilliant cut diamonds, six spokes of well-matched and graduated stones, set in silver and gold, whirl around a 2 carat round diamond. This versatile piece is presented with a pin converter that can be screwed onto the reverse, transforming it into a brooch.

Victorian Diamond Cross Necklace

Dating from around 1880, this stunning diamond cross necklace is among the largest and most impressive Victorian jewels in our Estate Collection. Beautifully matched in size and brightness, the diamonds are arranged to form a cross — a symbol of deep faith and devotion in Victorian Britain. Presented in its original box, the craftsmanship is exemplary, with  stylised diamond motifs framing the cross and is repeated along the length of the chain.

Victorian Burmese
Sapphire & Diamond Ring

The only piece that is made entirely in yellow gold, this charming Burmese sapphire and diamond ring is quintessentially Victorian. With a characteristic crown-shaped basket, embellished with hand-engraved scrolls, the centre stone is a magnificent antique Burmese sapphire weighing 3 carats. In the Victorian era, Burma was renowned for its deposits of extraordinary gemstones and an important source of fine sapphires. This richly saturated, intense blue gem is a superb example of why Burmese sapphires continue to be held in such high esteem.

You will notice that four of these pieces are united by one distinguishing feature: the diamonds are set in blackened silver. By darkening the silver, jewellers could create a dramatic backdrop to the old cut diamonds while accentuating their whiteness. To maintain the unique patina of your Victorian jewellery, it is very important not to clean it yourself. Our Cleaning Guide is for use with contemporary Ronald Abram jewellery only. Estate jewellery requires specialist cleaning; we invite you to visit our salon and we will be happy to assist you. 

For any estate jewellery inquiries,
please contact us to arrange a viewing.