I'm sorry in advance to all of the other blog challenges I participated in this year, but this was my very favorite challenge I participated in. I LOVE history. Always have. So when I found the Beady Eyed Bunny's History Hop, I was like a kid in a candy store.
The challenge was to pick a time period, research it, and then create a piece of jewelry that reflected that time period. The choices were:
Ancient Egypt (3000BC to 639AD)
China (3000BC to 1500AD)
Mesopotamian (2600 BC to 539 BC)
Ancient Mycenae Greek (2700 BC to 146 BC)
Indus Valley (2500 BC to 1800 AD)
Pre-Columbian (1400 BC to 1500 AD)
Persia (700 BC to 1700 AD)
Etruscan (700 BC to 300 BC)
Ancient Roman (753 BC to 476 AD)
Middle Ages (5th to 12th Century)
Renaissance (13th to 17th Century)
Victorian (18th to 19th Century)
Art Nouveau (19th to 20th Century)
Art Deco Jewelry (1920s to 1930)
Growing up, I was convinced I was born in the wrong century. I adored all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, and always wanted to play "Little House on the Prairie." Maybe it was growing up in Kansas and loving the prairie (most people don't get it, I guess you just have to be there to understand). But when I saw the Victorian period was an option, I knew it was calling my name.
I took this challenge very seriously, and delved into a treasure trove of research sources available (God bless you internet!!). I checked out books from the library and read them cover to cover. I reached out to museums, the Library of Congress, my Alma Mater Friends University's library...I did more research for this one project than I ever did for school!
Traditionally, the Victorian period was from 1837 to 1900. The period's namesake was the fascinating Queen Victoria. She was an eccentric character and had an all consuming passion for jewelry. One of the books I read (Victorian Jewellery by Margaret Flower) said that she loved charm bracelets so much, that she had special charms made and gave them to all of the people who came to visit her--that's my kind of girl! The piece I chose to create was inspired by Queen Victoria's charm bracelets.
A lot of the pictures that I found of charm bracelets from that time period had very large and chunky chains. Women seemed to be fascinated by nature and very "organic" charms, although the items weren't made from all natural materials. The Industrial Revolution was about to explode and metals were becoming easier to obtain and afford.
I received this chain in a package of beads I won earlier in the summer. Is is a very bulky chain that is bronze in color. I wanted to use it in a totally different way than I have in the past, so I used a shortened multi-strand necklace (gold tinged ribbon and white string) as a base, and then ran each chain link through the ribbon. Because it is woven through the ribbon, the chain moves freely, a feature that I love.
In keeping with the Victorian fascination with nature, I wanted to add a couple of charms that were nature inspired. I used a very large silver backed peacock charm, and a bronzed round bird charm. I'm normally a very matchy-matchy person when it comes to charms, so using two totally different charms was WAY out of my comfort zone. But I love how they compliment each other.
I am really happy with how the bracelet turned out! It is a somewhat loose interpretation of my favorite Victorian pieces, but I think it captures the heart and soul of the period.
I spent hours on end researching this time period and falling in love with it. My Laura Ingalls Wilder fascination has grown deeper, and I decided as a follow-up project, I want to research and re-create historically accurate jewelry of the prairie women. I'm excited to share my finds with you as I discover them.
I owe several people a debt of gratitude for their help on researching this project. They are:
Max Burson and Kathy Delker, Friends University Library
Lisa Heckler, Kansas Historical Society
Emily Guthrie, Winterthur Museum, Gardens and Library
Ann Hoog, Library of Congress
Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
To see the what the rest of the participants in the History Hop came up with, please check out their links below:
Ahowin - Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca's Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Cooky – Renaissance www.shepherdessbeads.com/Blog.html
Jamie Shipp – Middle Ages www.celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist - Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Paula Hisel – Victorian www.simplybeadiful.weebly.com/simply-stated.html
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com