The Victorian era was a period of great change and upheaval in Europe, spanning from 1837 to 1901, during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was a time when Britain was at the forefront of industrialization, and this led to a significant transformation in society and fashion. Victorian jewelry was a reflection of this period and is known for its intricate design and craftsmanship.

The jewelry of the Victorian era was incredibly diverse, with designs ranging from romantic and sentimental to bold and ornate. One of the most significant influences on Victorian jewelry was the discovery of new sources of gemstones, such as diamonds from South Africa, and new techniques for cutting and polishing them. This led to an explosion of diamond jewelry during the era, with many Victorian pieces featuring large, impressive stones.

Another key influence on Victorian jewelry was the rise of sentimentalism. The Victorians were a sentimental people, and they placed great value on family and personal connections. This was reflected in the jewelry of the era, with pieces often featuring lockets and cameos that contained portraits of loved ones. Hair jewelry was also popular during this time, with locks of hair woven into intricate designs.

One of the most iconic forms of Victorian jewelry was the mourning brooch. These were worn by women who had lost a loved one and often contained a portrait of the deceased or a lock of their hair. These brooches were typically made of jet, a black gemstone that was popular for mourning jewelry, or other dark materials such as onyx or vulcanite.

Another popular style of Victorian jewelry was the serpent motif. Snakes were a popular symbol in Victorian culture, representing wisdom, eternity, and even death. Serpent motifs were often used in bracelets and rings, with the snake coiled around the wearer's wrist or finger.

Victorian jewelry was also notable for its use of enamelwork. Enamel was a popular material for creating intricate designs and patterns, often in bright colors. It was also used to create realistic depictions of animals, such as birds and butterflies.

The Victorian era was also marked by the rise of costume jewelry. As new materials and techniques became available, it became possible to create high-quality jewelry that was affordable for the middle and working classes. Costume jewelry often imitated the styles of more expensive pieces, but was made with less expensive materials such as glass or paste.

In conclusion, Victorian jewelry was a reflection of a period of great change and upheaval in Europe. It was notable for its intricate design and craftsmanship, and its diversity of styles. From sentimental lockets and mourning brooches to serpent motifs and enamelwork, Victorian jewelry continues to be appreciated and valued for its beauty and historical significance.