Late Victorian or Aesthetic Period 1885-1900

In the late 1800's, Darwin's controversial theories on evolution and new botanical discoveries created a demand for jewelry made to look like animals or insects. Ladies would secure pieces of lace to their ensemble with a multitude of these small pins made to look like butterflies, houseflies, beetles, etc. Animal designs, for instance, monkeys or peacocks were fashioned into jewels. There was a greater sense of social responsibility and an even more liberated woman emerged during the 1880's. Again, fashions changed and a desire for softer, more feminine colors in jewelry. Fancy colored sapphires became the stone of choice, in addition to peridot and spinel. Diamonds gained greater popularity due to their bright sparkle and increased availability. . This is about the very first time the Suffragettes began the concept of linking wedding ring expenditure to salary.

By the 1870's, new discoveries of silver (like the Comstock mine in Nevada in 1859) had reduced the cost of this precious metal and silver jewelry became more affordable. An infinite variety of beautifully engraved bangle bracelets, intricate monogram and name brooches, sentimental lockets, and other whimsical jewels were created to serve a growing middle market. Many of these silver baubles express sentimental themes and reflect a sense of whimsy that is common to the late Victorian era. Art Deco and Art nouveau jewelry from famous studios began to appear along with the bolder and plainer jewelry of the late 70s