Necklace (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Turquoise was used in profusion in jewellery of the 19th century. The bright blue colour echoed forget-me-nots, which signified true love in the language of flowers used in sentimental jewellery. It was also traditionally believed to protect its wearer from danger. It was a popular gift to bridesmaids, often in the form of turquoise doves. In 1840, Queen Victoria gave her twelve bridesmaids turquoise brooches in the shape of a Coburg eagle, a reference to Prince Albert's family.

The motif of the snake swallowing its tail is often found in turquoise jewellery. This ancient symbol, known as the ouroboros, symbolised eternity and can be found as a token of love and in mourning jewellery. The serpent motif was most fashionable in the 1840s. Queen Victoria wore a serpent bracelet to her first council meeting in 1837 and was given a serpent and emerald engagement ring by Prince Albert.

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  • Title: Necklace (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1835/1840
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 14 cm, Width: 13 cm, Depth: 1.4 cm
  • Provenance: Cory Bequest
  • Medium: Silver and gold, pavé-set with turquoises, with rubies, pearls and brilliant-cut diamonds

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