Though customs may have varied among classes and cultures, the Victorians were known for their particular social expectations — especially when it came to love and romance.
With countless variations and some truly extravagant examples from the royal family, here are 5 unique Victorian period engagement traditions:
1. Proper courtship included chaperoned dates, love letters, and small gifts.
Victorians placed a great deal of importance on modesty which made for rather structured social relationships. The idea of "dating for fun" didn't quite exist, and it wasn't just the bride-to-be that suitors had to win over.
2. Proposals weren't complete without a ring — and a family's blessing.
The tradition of asking a young woman's father for his approval before proposing to her was alive and well during the Victorian era as was that of presenting a diamond engagement ring, though colored gemstone options began to enter the scene.
3. A formal announcement to the couple's loved ones was a must.
Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, in a commissioned portrait that prominently features a badge of the Order of Victoria and her engagement ring from Prince Frederick William of Prussia whose portrait was painted at the same time by German artist and royal painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
4. Extra sentimental love tokens, including jewelry, were all the rage.
Unlike modern wedding day gifts exchanged between the bride and groom, love tokens were often exchanged throughout a couple's engagement in Victorian times. Lockets, brooches, and birthstone jewelry for the bride were especially popular.
5. This was a time for the bride's wedding trousseau to come together.
As Victorian brides were showered with love tokens, they were often expected to prepare their wedding trousseau of things that would be vital in their marriage, home, and family. This, of course, included finding a wedding band for her husband as well.
Whether you're looking for the perfect antique engagement ring or a love token for your beloved, our GIA graduate jewelry experts are happy to help you find the one-of-a-kind piece of your dreams in our showroom or on our website.'
Here's to love!
Julie and the Walton's Team
P.S. If you’ve got a story involving Walton’s jewelry – whether it was the centerpiece of your proposal or to celebrate another one of life’s precious milestones, we’d love to capture the magic here.