Queen Victoria's beloved husband, Prince Albert, died in 1861. The Queen still had four decades left in her reign—a long period during which she remained in-mourning. Queen Victoria wore black every day for the rest of her life. And while her jewelry needed to be attractive, it also had to be appropriately understated—if not melancholy. The Queen set the fashion for the rest of the nation; for forty years, the entire nation observed some measure of mourning alongside their Queen. Thus, the English jewelry from the last third of the Nineteenth Century tended to be stately, serious and handsome—not whimsical, sunny or frivolous.
The Victorian English silver brooch, shown above, captures the spirit of its time. It is certainly attractive, finely engraved with botanicals surrounded by a radiant Aesthetic Movement graphic. It is pretty without being too jolly. Stately without being flashy. And today, some 140 years later, it will still furnish a handsome accent to a coat or suit lapel. It would provide tasteful punctuation on a woman's tailored outfit—or even on a (confident) man's heavy winter coat. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248