Jewellery plays a hugely significant role in mirroring wider cultural trends, behaviour and also events. At times of significant change its role becomes even more elevated and no time is more profound than the passing away of someone. Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the jewellery worn by the Royal Family has poured over in just the few days that have passed so far.
Pearls and the Royal Family
Pearls have long been worn by the Royal Family. In fact in the 16th century, all but nobility were banned from wearing pearl jewellery. They are frequently still worn by Royal brides on their wedding day but are also frequently selected following the death of a member of the Royal Family. Already, Queen Consort Camilla and the Princess of Wales have been seen wearing pearl jewellery. This mark of respect actually dates back to Queen Victoria who famously only wore black following the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert for the rest of her life. This extended to her jewellery choices and she mostly only wore black or colourless jewellery pieces. Pearls did form part of this. Partly because of their colour but also because they are said to represent tear drops and purity.
Queen Victoria and Whitby Jet
Queen Victoria’s mourning choices had a huge impact on jewellery trends as a result. Whitby Jet made a historic climb in popularity. Jet is thought to have formed from the fosslised remains of an enormous conifer. It is said that as fashion at the time was so heavy to wear that Victorians loved how light jet was. The trend largely died with Queen Victoria but there is one designer who has championed the use of this material and given it a very contemporary re-working. Jacqueline Cullen.
I am a huge fan of black jewellery. It mystifies me why black is seen as such a universal and wearable colour for clothing but largely forgotten when it comes to jewellery. Gold really sets of jewellery and some stones like Slate Pyrite even contain flecks of gold colour.
I love that jewellery is such a strong part of history. Its durability enables it to contribute so much to our past. It will be interesting to see over the coming days more of the Royal Family's jewellery choices and the stories behind them.