Tag Archives: history of jewellery

International Friendship Day-Monday 30th July

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Sometimes more than others. But there’s never a bad time to tell a friend you think they’re golden so we’re loving the reminder of International Friendship day today.

Erica Weiner’s range helpfully takes us from historic pieces to modern twists in the quest to express buddily love. Weiner has two New York stores that see a range of beautiful antique pieces and vintage-inspired ‘future heirlooms’ pass through their doors. If a trip to the big apple isn’t on the cards the website is a temptation on the purse strings as well as a lesson in the history of jewellery.

The seal of approval. Friendship rebus carved from amethyst with red foil behind was strung by the jeweller to make a pendant for the affectionate correspondent on the go.

The idea for this friendship bracelet/cuff was drawn from a personal history and given an upgrade from plaited plastic into cast polished brass – for the grown up with mates with great taste.

A friendship necklace is a lovely present. Maybe Argos won’t take care of it now we aren’t 10 anymore? These classic and customisable hearts are broken so you stay connected in spirit. It’s not just kids’ stuff, friends are important, let’s not forget it however you want to show it.

If your affections can’t be bought (and you would like to make a symbolic gift for a pal) or you want to learn more about the history of jewellery, of course we have a class you.




Our favourite jewellery museums

Following on from our favourite jewellery events, we have picked out our favourite museums to see jewellery in. These are a few we’ve enjoyed but there are probably many more so please add your suggestions in the comments.

We love the V&A’s jewellery gallery which houses one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of jewellery in the world. There are jewels from ancient times through an international selection of contemporary makers, telling a history of jewellery in Europe. The jewellery is displayed in a glittering grotto of a gallery which also features computer screens where you can look up pieces to learn more about them.

The jewellery gallery at the V&A - a treasure trove for the lovers of bling

The jewellery gallery at the V&A – a treasure trove for the lovers of bling

Well worth a visit if you are interested in the development of jewellery design or just want to revel in the glow of hundreds of gems. Check out the interactive collection to see more.

Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

 jewellery museum

The original workshops at the museum (via trip advisor)

Part of the Birmingham Museum group, this intriguing tour through the city’s jewellery making heritage is housed in the old premises of Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturing firm which ceased trading in 1981. This is a time capsule from the day they locked the doors with tools left strewn on benches; grubby overalls were hung on the coat hooks; and dirty teacups were abandoned alongside jars of marmite and jam on the shelf. Décor and working practices had changed little in the previous 80 years of the business giving a real insight into traditional jewellery manufacture.
The museum also has jewellery galleries and a shop featuring the work of contemporary Birmingham designers.

Whitby Museum
Whitby, in Yorkshire, is famous for the production of items in jet, so it is not a surprise that the local museum is home to one of the best collections of jet jewellery which was particularly popular in the Victorian era – although the collection covers some 500 years of jet carving.

Ulster Museum
The Ulster Museum in Belfast is home to the treasure from three of the 20 Spanish Armada ships wrecked on the north and west Irish coasts, including the jewels that were on board.  As well as this extraordinary collection, the museum houses 18th century paste, the most complete collection of Irish 19th century jewellery, and Art Nouveau jewellery. The galleries also feature the work contemporary Irish jewellers.

Gold and Ruby Salamander Pendant from the Armanda wrecks

Gold and Ruby Salamander Pendant from the Armada wrecks

British Museum
There is jewellery scattered across the collections throughout this fascinating museum, showing how important personal adornment has been to every culture. Well worth a look is the gallery featuring artefacts from Sutton Hoo  including jewellery and metal work featuring techniques that would be familiar to modern jewellery school students.
And if you can’t get there in person, take a look at this online tour to get a flavour of what is on offer.

Design Museum
At the time of writing the Design Museum has no jewellery exhibitions running, but this celebration of all kinds of design does run contemporary jewellery shows and designer retrospectives, so it is worth keeping an eye on its what’s on page.