Just a really quick post today, but something I ABSOLUTELY have to share with you. I discovered this in Clare Phillips’s Jewels and Jewellery (London: V&A Publications, 2000, pp.90-91) while doing some research for an article.
According to my research, Victorian jewellery got very playful at the mid-century. According to Joan Evans’s A History of Jewellery: 1100-1870, 2nd ed. (1970) (New York: Dover Publications, 1989):
“In the years after 1860 pettiness and silliness invaded the sign of jewels. Lizards, snakes, dragonflies and beetles were in fashion, and gold earrings were designed from daytime wear with such subjects as sitting hens, stable lanterns, barrows, windmills, lamps and watering-cans. They were often as much as four inches long” (180).
However, this photo of some 1872 earrings I found in Clare Phillips’s book is just TAKING THE PISS. There is silly jewelry, and then there is silly jewelry:
These are fucking taxidermied blue creeper [aka honeycreeper] heads with glass eyes.
The beaks point upwards toward FLIES. Mercifully not real flies, BUT STILL. They’re finished off with gold bead curtains at the bottom, each earring measuring almost 4 inches in length.
No matter how playful you’re feeling, who on earth would want severed bird heads and metal flies dangling off their ears?
Congratulations to this post, as this might be the creepiest of all the creepy Victorian things I’ve ever found.