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Berlin Iron Necklace


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, not only were the Prussian war chests were filled, but it had a strong effect socially. Not only was wearing gold jewelry during this period of war was frowned upon and seen as unpatriotic, but 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, later variations, like this necklace with a pretty hand clasp, were made in the Gothic Revival style.


  • Materials

    Black lacquered iron

  • Age

    c. 1820

  • Condition

    Very good

  • Size

    17 1/2", largest link measures 1 1/6" x 1 1/4", smallest link measures 5/8" x 1 1/4", 1" clasp