We’re going to speak about one among my favourite obscure subgenres of bijou at the moment: acrostic jewellery! Common within the Georgian and Victorian eras, acrostic jewellery is jewellery that holds a secret message coded in gems (!!).
What’s acrostic jewellery?
In acrostic jewellery, the primary letter of every gemstone in a chunk spells out a phrase. You mostly see acrostic jewellery spelling out traditional phrases of endearment, like “adore,” “regard,” “expensive,” or “dearest.”
So an acrostic ring spelling out “expensive” may characteristic a (D)iamond, (E)merald, (A)methyst, and (R)uby to spell out D-E-A-R. The ring above makes use of the identical technique to spell REGARD.
This explicit acrostic ring is early Victorian and takes the type of a pansy for additional romance (pansy means “consider me”). This piece is circa 1830 and is from Nalfie’s.
The totally romantic pattern of acrostic jewels started within the Georgian period and flourished all through the Victorian interval. It’s believed that acrostic jewellery was first created by Jean-Baptiste Mellerio of the Home of Mellerio, who began designing jewels with gems that spelled out “j’adore.”
Napoleon Bonaparte admired Mellario’s acrostic designs and commissioned acrostic jewels for each Empress Josephine and his second spouse, Empress Marie Louise.
The Georgian period acrostic pendant above options pretty gold cannetille work and gem stones that spell ‘LOVE.’ This magnificence is circa 1820 and features a compartment on the again for a lock of hair. It’s from Argentum Antiques & Collectables on 1st Dibs.
These three Georgian period lockets are from Fable & Windsor and they’re all acrostic items with gems that spell “REGARD.”
Secret messages of affection encoded in gems went completely with the Georgian and Victorian love of romance and symbolic meanings. These sentimental jewels would have been gifted to lovers, members of the family, and even treasured buddies.
Let’s take a look at a couple of extra examples of acrostic jewellery, lets?
This pretty acrostic ring is from from Audrey & Wolf and dates to the Victorian period. It takes the form of a fairly little flower with gem stones that spell out “DEAREST,” beginning with the diamond within the center.
Acrostic items are extremely collectible and so they’re getting tougher and tougher to search out. Many of the items featured on this publish are already bought, however not all. If you happen to see one you like, don’t wait: snap it up!
This beautiful Georgian period acrostic locket from 1820 is from The Three Graces.
This magnificence is a very distinctive instance. It’s adorned with layers of grape vines and grape leaves, which The Three Graces says symbolizes fecundity, a lot, and the reaping of life’s bounty. Hidden inside the vines are gems spelling out REGARD with a Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby, and Diamond.
The locket opens to disclose a secret compartment, excellent for retaining the hair of a beloved one or different treasure.
This Victorian period brooch is an instance of how acrostics can simply be missed in case you’re not within the know.
At first look, this seems to be a fairly brooch with a scattering of pretty gems. Then you definately notice….(D)iamond (E)merald (A)methyst (R)uby = DEAR. It’s an acrostic piece!
This brooch is from Laurelle Vintage Jewelry. (Additionally, it is available in its authentic field!)
Most of the vintage acrostic items nonetheless in the marketplace at the moment are candy little rings like this one. This one is an early Victorian acrostic ring, circa 1840.
This acrostic ring spells DEAREST, with notably vivid gems. This piece is from Nalfie’s.
Any variety of items from historical past might be secret acrostics with gems spelling out much less typical phrases of endearment, names and even inside jokes. We’ll by no means know and I really like the thriller of all of it.
What gems would I take advantage of to spell out my very own identify on an acrostic jewel? I’ve some tough letters. Possibly (B)eryel (E)merald (C)hrysoberyl (Ok)yanite (Y)ellow sapphire?
This piece is one among my private favorites from all of the examples I’ve featured right here – there’s simply one thing about it that calls to me.
This pendant is an early acrostic piece, courting to 1800. It’s a coronary heart formed pendant with a locket compartment within the pack, for hair or different small sentimental treasure. Its secret message is encoded in a pansy for additional romance! It spells “REGARD.”
This acrostic jewel is from Fable & Windsor.
This jaw-dropping brooch is an early instance of acrostic jewellery; actually museum-worthy.
This beautiful Vintage Georgian period brooch is a bonanza of romantic symbolism. The elaborately detailed key and dangling padlock carry the symbolic message of “you’re the important thing to my coronary heart” whereas the dangling gems spell out REGARD. There’s yet another shock on the again: the padlock conceals a compartment for a treasured lock of hair.
This magnificence is from Butter Lane Antiques.
This acrostic ring is Georgian and – might you inform from taking a look at it? – it’s one other REGARD. This magnificence options completely pretty rose and inexperienced gold cannetille particulars. The cannetille is that lovely, swirly gold work.
This acrostic ring is additionally from Nalfies.
This piece is a spectacular and uncommon instance of acrostic jewellery from a later period! A signed piece by Tiffany & Co, this beautiful classic e book locket options an acrostic embellishment on its clasp: (D)iamond (E)merald, (A)methyst, (R)uby.
This piece was not too long ago bought by Property Jewellery Mama.
I’ve seen a couple of fashionable designers utilizing the acrostic design method, like Lulu & Shay and Erica Weiner, however the pattern hasn’t actually taken maintain in a widespread method because the 1800’s. I really like the thought of utilizing acrostic gems to incorporate a secret message in a chunk, even when it will solely ever be identified to the wearer.
Right here’s an particularly magnificent acrostic piece! This magnificence is Georgian and never solely is it designed to seem like a e book (which I really like) it’s a French dressing!! The e book opens to disclose an open area protected by an elaborate piece of gold with openings in it and it will maintain one thing with a pleasant scent, to fragrance the wearer and supply a respite from the doubtless disagreeable odors of Georgian period life.
There’s additionally a compartment for hair on the again of the dangling coronary heart. This piece is a Georgian pattern house run.
And naturally, it’s an acrostic, which is why it’s right here! The phrase REGARD spelled on the entrance in gems. From Hancock’s London.
This late Victorian acrostic ring appears splendidly wearable: it’s glossy and daring and splendidly gemmy. It spells REGARD and is from Coronary heart of Hearts jewels.
If you happen to’re something like me, you’re now determined to personal a chunk of acrostic jewellery.
I’ve excellent news for you: I’m about to do a giveaway for an unimaginable vintage acrostic ring!! I’ll be saying it proper right here within the subsequent few days, so keep tuned!
A lot of my data of acrostic jewellery comes from chatting with vintage jewellery sellers through the years, however I additionally consulted the next sources:
Vintage Animal Jewellery. “Acrostic Jewellery: The Language of Stones.” Vintage Animal Jewellery, 20 Jan. 2021.
Branstrator, Brecken. “The Historical past behind … Acrostic Jewellery.” Nationwide Jeweler, 20 Nov. 2014.
Dawes, Ginny Redington, and Olivia Collings. Georgian Jewelry. Vintage Collectors Membership Dist, 2007.
GIA. “Secret Messages in Jewellery – Acrostic Jewellery.” GIA 4Cs, Gemological Institute of America , 12 Oct. 2015.
Lyon & Turnbull. “Acrostic Jewels.” Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.
All photos c/o the supply tagged under every picture.