Tied up in knots about what to buy your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? Then we just might be able to inspire you.
It’s unlikely you’re thinking of buying a loved one a knot - but what about a Victorian Etruscan revival gold love knot brooch?
It should come as no surprise to learn that a lavish knot of entwined gold is a symbol of love, matrimony, happiness and togetherness, and we have a particularly stunning example coming up for auction soon.
A jewellery design featuring a knot represents two people joined by love and loyalty and provides an example of the importance of jewellery as a symbol of everlasting love.
Victorian Etruscan revival gold love knot brooch.
A ring, a never-ending circle, is another celebration of love whether in a simple gold wedding band, diamond engagement ring or lavish dress ring given as a gift to a sweetheart.
Jewellery and love will be together forever and a woman who amplified that in so many ways is Queen Victoria, who lived from 1819 to 1901. She was deeply in love with her husband Prince Albert, who died aged only 42, breaking her heart.
She famously wore black for the rest of her life and helped to inspire the popularity of mourning jewellery. We see many examples at Hansons including bracelets made out of a loved one’s hair. Our jewellery department is currently assessing a Victorian mourning ring which contains a strand of hair in a central compartment within a seed pearl and garnet surround.
Victorian mourning ring which contains a strand of hair in a central compartment.
Mourning jewellery offered the Victorians a way of keeping a loved one’s memory alive and close at hand. Securing a strand of hair in a locket or ring became popular among those who could afford it.
Victorian love knot offered a way to honour burgeoning passions, a romantic gift to celebrate love. Our jewellery expert Helen Smith is smitten with the Victorian Etruscan revival gold love knot brooch and points out that, yet again, we have Queen Victoria to thank for its popularity at that time.
Victoria’s enduring love for Prince Albert was translated through jewellery and a variety of love knot jewellery designs emerged in the Victorian era. A true lover’s knot features two interlocking knots which are movable but not breakable, as seen in this Victorian knot set with turquoise. Turquoise has been used throughout the ages in jewellery and Queen Victorian was a fan. She presented members of her bridal party with brooches set with turquoise.
Victorian Etruscan revival gold love knot brooch.
However, the history of love knots in jewellery dates back centuries. The love-knot pattern usually has no discernible beginning or end to symbolise the constancy of the lovers' bond. Love knots have been found in ancient Egyptian carved sculptures, ancient Greek jewellery and Celtic artwork.
The Victorian Etruscan love knot brooch, coming up for sale in our February 24 Derbyshire Winter Fine Art Auction, features interlocking loops set with round-cut turquoise and gold loops wand extravagant cannetille decoration to link swags and drops.
Cannetille is a type of metal decoration in the form of thin wires making a coarse filigree pattern, sometimes enhanced with a gemstone or enamelling. It is named after the type of embroidery made with very twisted gold or silver thread.
The brooch was made by A.B Savory & Sons London, jewellery makers and silversmiths with roots dating back to mid-1800s. The brooch comes in its original fitted presentation case, something else we love to see.
Victorian jewellery currently being assessed ahead of auction.
Jewellery has adorned the body for 25,000 years for a variety of reasons. As well as celebrating love, it depicts wealth and power and has been worn as amulets to protect from evil or to bring good luck. Ancient tribal hunters wore jewellery made from the bones and teeth of animals they had hunted in the belief it would bring them future good yields.
Jewellery given as a token of love dates back to Egyptian times when people exchanged braided rings fashioned from hemp or reeds. These fragile materials were later replaced with leather, bone or ivory.
Iron was used by Romans to fashion rings for loved ones to be worn of the fourth finger of the left hand. They believed this finger contained the vena amoris, or vein of love. They were also the first to engrave rings with romantic phrases and this tradition continued. Hansons’ Historica auctions often feature medieval ‘posey’ rings which symbolise love and are engraved with a poem or saying.
Elaborate ring designs became popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. An interlocking gimel ring, usually made with two or three interlocking bands, became popular. One would be worn by each partner then, when they married, all the bands were worn by the wife as one ring.
The art of romance is so beautiful captured by jewellery, it gives us great pleasure to see and assess your collections.
Jewellery to sell?
If you are considering selling jewellery, watches or silver at auction, free valuations are always available. Email Head of Jewellery Helen Smith - [email protected] - for friendly and knowledgeable advice.