Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1820s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Iron and steel

  • Credit Line:

    Transferred from the Museum of Practical Geology

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 16, shelf B, box 7

Cast-iron jewellery was an inexpensive but fashionable novelty for consumers in Europe and America from around 1800 to 1860. Developed in Germany in 1806–7 and often worn during mourning, it became the symbol of Prussian patriotism and resistance to Napoleon I in the Prussian War of Liberation fought from 1813-15. Women donated gold jewellery to their country in exchange for iron inscribed ‘I gave gold for iron’.

The transformation of cast iron, a dark metal of little value, into a fashionable product was an important Prussian manufacturing success. Factories became adept at casting small, delicate parts which could be assembled to create the jewellery. A renewed interest in the Medieval past throughout Europe brought stylistic change. After 1815, the Neo-classical designs of earlier Berlin ironwork were replaced by Gothic motifs such as the trefoil, quatrefoil, and fine pointed arches. The jewellery quickly gained an international profile. Demand peaked in the 1830s, when Berlin alone had 27 foundries and manufacture spread to France and Austria.

Physical description

Necklace, iron with polished steel mounts.It consists of sixteen links alternating foliage and rosettes surrounded by tracery. The rosettes are set on burnished steel. A quatrefoil of tracery completes the design of each foliage link.

Place of Origin

Germany (probably, made)


ca. 1820s (made)



Materials and Techniques

Iron and steel


Height: 22.5 cm, Width: 21.5 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Descriptive line

Necklace, iron with polished steel mounts, Germany, ca. 1820-1830.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Cast Iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850 The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994


Iron; Steel


Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.