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Victorian Vulcanite Mourning Chain

$525.00
About Details History

Attention soft goths: you'll want this chunky, graphic 1860's necklace.  It was made to be worn as an element in one's mourning ensemble during the first months of bereavement. It's made of Vulcanite, a dark material made from a combo of sulfur and rubber, developed by Charles Goodyear, (yup, the tire guy.) It's named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. Rub it hard and sniff - the substance gives off a slightly flinty, brimstone smell. That helps us identify this necklace as Vulcanite vs other black-colored jewelry: jet, gutta percha, bog oak, and glass were all used to create mourning jewelry in the Victorian era. The XL silver findings don't have to be worn in the back - use them, if you like, to wrangle your charms. 

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  • Materials: vulcanite, sterling silver clasp 
  • Age: silver clasp is contemporary, vulcanite chain is c. 1870
  • Condition: very good
  • Size: 18" long
  • Location: to see this piece in person, please visit our shop in Nolita, NYC. 
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VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more

About Details History

Attention soft goths: you'll want this chunky, graphic 1860's necklace.  It was made to be worn as an element in one's mourning ensemble during the first months of bereavement. It's made of Vulcanite, a dark material made from a combo of sulfur and rubber, developed by Charles Goodyear, (yup, the tire guy.) It's named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. Rub it hard and sniff - the substance gives off a slightly flinty, brimstone smell. That helps us identify this necklace as Vulcanite vs other black-colored jewelry: jet, gutta percha, bog oak, and glass were all used to create mourning jewelry in the Victorian era. The XL silver findings don't have to be worn in the back - use them, if you like, to wrangle your charms. 

less
more

  • Materials: vulcanite, sterling silver clasp 
  • Age: silver clasp is contemporary, vulcanite chain is c. 1870
  • Condition: very good
  • Size: 18" long
  • Location: to see this piece in person, please visit our shop in Nolita, NYC. 
less
more
VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more