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Journey Through Time with Etruscan Revival Jewelry 💎

Journey Through Time with Etruscan Revival Jewelry 💎

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed), 1859.

Have you ever wondered how some of the most exquisite jewelry styles from ancient civilizations found their way back into the limelight during the Victorian era? One of the most fascinating revivals is that of Etruscan jewelry. 

The Etruscan Revival draws inspiration from the Etruscans, a pre-Roman civilization in Italy renowned for their sophisticated art and architecture. Victorian society, captivated by the exotic allure of the Etruscans, began to incorporate their motifs and styles into contemporary designs.

Shop Etruscan Revival Jewelry

Etruscan Pair of Earrings, 300s BC, Source - Wikimedia Commons

The Etruscans and Their Masterpieces

The Etruscans were an ancient civilization that flourished in what is now modern-day Italy, around 800 BC to 300 BC. Their craftsmanship in jewelry was nothing short of spectacular. They were masters of granulation, a technique involving tiny gold beads soldered onto a surface, creating patterns that still boggle the minds of modern jewelers.

Set of Etruscan Jewelry, early 5th century BCE, Source - Met Museum

The Victorian Obsession with the Past

The Victorian era, spanning from 1837 to 1901, was a time of significant cultural and intellectual growth. Queen Victoria herself was a trendsetter, and her interests often shaped the tastes of the entire era. Victorians were fascintated with history and archaeology, partly due to the numerous archaeological discoveries happening around the world. The unearthing of ancient cities like Pompeii and Herculaneum stirred the imaginations of many.

During this time, Europe was abuzz with the excitement of ancient artifacts being brought to light. This fervor for the past found its way into various aspects of Victorian life, including fashion and jewelry. Enter Etruscan Revival jewelry, a style that captured the essence of the ancient world while fitting perfectly into the opulent and eclectic Victorian aesthetic.

Victorian 14k Yellow Gold, Pearl, Crystal, and Turquoise Pendant

Archaeological Discoveries

The revival of Etruscan jewelry in the Victorian era was sparked by a series of archaeological discoveries in the early 19th century. The historical finds of the Etruscan civilization emerged on the coast of Italy, near present-day Tuscany, where explorers discovered ancient Etruscan tombs containing intricate jewelry made of rich yellow gold, unlike anything that had been seen before.

Victorian 19k Yellow Gold, Pearl, and Quartz Doublet Bracelet
Victorian 14k Yellow Gold Cross Pendant

Jewelers Embrace the Revival

Inspired by these discoveries, Victorian jewelers began to replicate the intricate designs and techniques of Etruscan jewelry. Pieces often featured motifs like lions, sphinxes, and mythological figures, combining elegance with a sense of historical richness.

Contemporary Roman goldsmiths at the time were challenged to reproduce the unique style of these Etruscan treasure troves…

And while their exact techniques were impossible to reverse engineer, there are a few hallmarks of Etruscan Revival design that bring these ancient inspirations to life.

Despite dating back thousands of years (roughly 700-300 BC), the bold and ornate look fit right in with the sensibilities of the Victorian era and a frenzy for Etruscan-inspired jewelry ensued.

Goldsmithing techniques such as granulation and filigree add rich dimension and texture to each piece while matte finish gold intensely colored gems round out the aesthetic.

Though little remains of the Etruscan civilization, these stunning reproduction pieces serve as a love letter from Victorian-era jewelers to ancient Etruscan artisans.