The jewelry we call Berlin iron was produced as part of the gold-for-iron campaign the began in 1813 in what is now Germany. To fund the Prussian effort to repel the forces of Napoleon, citizens were urged to donate their gold to the state and were given a piece of lacquered iron jewelry in return. The drive for gold was quite successful: the Prussian war chests were filled, and it had a strong effect socially. Wearing gold jewelry during this period of war was frowned upon and seen as unpatriotic. Berlin iron jewelry became very fashionable and high street jewelers started to retail the distinctive black jewelry to satisfy demand for the style. The earliest versions were made using neoclassical themes - this exquisite butterfly brooch with floral filigree wings is a later variation.
Black lacquered iron
Excellent, with one nearly invisible speck of rust. See care reminder below for maintenance details.
2 3/8" wingspan, 1 1/2" height
1837 — 1901
please note:Care Reminder
Very little Berlin iron jewelry survives today because iron rusts. If you want your jewelry to stay beautifully black for another few generations, keep it away from water and steam.