Photography (in Jewellery), Part 2

April 19, 2010

As quickly as the technology spread, jewellery and fashion were fast to adopt photography. The wearing of a photograph became linked to mainstream fashion; its use as a signifier of social status as well as a personal device of memorialising a loved was a revolution in the concept of memorial / sentimental jewellery. Worn on the outside or in, closed or open, photography and jewellery began a relationship that still continues to this day.

Replacing the miniature as a cost effective means of holding on to the memory of a loved one, lockets and pendants adapted to accommodate photography quickly. Following on from the 1830s, jewellery was becoming smaller and more adaptable for modern fashion, lockets and pendants weren’t as obvious in costume as they had previously been. By the 1840s to 60s, small lockets were accommodating photography and adapting styles as fashion permitted. Wearing the picture of a loved one over the heart was one of the most powerful symbols of affection between people; it was a secretive function and transcended any particular fashionable style.

In brooches, photographs began replace hair mementos, or often have hair on one side with a swivel to a photograph on the reverse (1850s and 60s). Even rings were not exempt from photographs, with signet rings opening to an image underneath, and eventually mourning pieces of the 1930s and 40s would be of Bakelite with photographs placed on the top. By the 1880s, the ubiquitous nature of the photograph was starting to replace traditional items of sentimentality, notably hairwork was declining in use as well as miniature portraits had almost become obsolete for common use by the 1860s.

Further Reading:

> Photography in Jewellery Part 1
> Photography in Jewellery Part 2
> Photography in Jewellery Part 3
> Photography in Jewellery Part 4
> Photography in Jewellery Part 5
> Photography in Jewellery Part 6
> Photography in Jewellery Part 7

4 Responses to “Photography (in Jewellery), Part 2”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Ahhh, the lovely Clara Wilkinson, who died so young… thanks for putting her up. By the way, I found out this photo is a salt print.


  2. […] Photography in Jewellery Part 1 > Photography in Jewellery Part 2 > Photography in Jewellery Part 3 > Photography in Jewellery Part 4 > Photography in […]


  3. […] Photography in Jewellery Part 1 > Photography in Jewellery Part 2 > Photography in Jewellery Part 3 > Photography in Jewellery Part 4 > Photography in […]


  4. […] Photography in Jewellery Part 1 > Photography in Jewellery Part 2 > Photography in Jewellery Part 3 > Photography in Jewellery Part 4 > Photography in […]


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