By Danielle Olivia Tefft, Jewelry Writer
Could your Halloween costume use a touch of the macabre? Creepy jewelry may be just what you need. And as history is the best inspiration for fashion, why not take a cue from the Victorians? Their fascination with animals and insects often took bizarre forms, especially when they incorporated taxidermy into their fashions.
As I list these rather bizarre antique items, remember that in the Victorian Era (1837-1901), these jewelry items were worn every day. They were not fright-night options back then. (To me, this makes them even creepier!)
1. Human Hair:
I can see saving a wisp of a deceased loved one’s hair in a locket. But an entire necklace made of his or her woven hair is beyond creepy to me. Nevertheless, hair jewelry was very popular in Victorian times. It was considered respectable mourning jewelry. The wealthier you were, the more elaborate your hair jewelry was. Whole suites of hair jewelry consisting of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches have survived from this bygone era.
An operculum shell is actually the “door” to a certain sea snail’s inner chambers. All you can see when the snail retreats into its shell is a flat, thin disc covering its shell opening. That’s the back of the operculum disc. The other side is convex with circular bands of green and yellow or brown. These features make operculum shells look like bulging eyeballs. Perfect for Halloween, right? Victorians believed these creepy “sea eyes” offered protection from evil, especially the dreaded evil eye.
3. Animal Parts & Insects:
This is perhaps the most disturbing habit of Victorians, especially the women. In the late 1800s, Darwin’s theories of evolution were fresh and fascinating. So much so, that Victorian women incorporated taxidermy into their fashions. Dresses were made with real butterflies or bees decorating them. Hats were made with deceased pets; often cats or small dogs. (Please use stuffed animals if you decide to go this route this Halloween!) And we are all familiar with scarab beetle jewelry. Well, in Victorian times, the scarab beetles used were real. I have just one comment: Yick!
I hope this has given you some ideas for some creepy Halloween jewelry. Have a safe and happy Halloween!
Have you inherited some of the Victorian jewelry mentioned above? If so, please share it with us in the comments section. And if you like antique and vintage jewelry as much as we do, please subscribe to this blog!
Danielle Olivia Tefft is a professional writer with a lifelong passion for gems, jewelry and fashion. She is a GIA accredited jewelry professional and the owner of online antique and vintage jewelry shop, Treasure Box Antiques. Current projects include ghostwriting jewelry and fashion blogs for clients worldwide. When she is not writing, she spends time in the garden, spoiling her cats and traveling with her significant other. Would you like to hire her to write for you? Visit her website danielleoliviatefftwrites.com for clips, terms and more information.
About This Blog:
The Found in the Jewelry Box Blog is my attempt to teach others about the wonderful world of gems and jewelry, past and present. Please enjoy!