Necklace thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Necklace

ca. 1820 - ca. 1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This necklace is a remarkable example of the caster's art. The individual narrative elements are encircled by ovoid frames that were cast separately and then joined to create a silhouette effect. 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. Women donated gold jewellery to their country in exchange for iron inscribed ‘I gave gold for iron’.

Early Berlin ironwork was Neo-classical in style using motifs such as palmettes, acanthus leaves and cameos. After 1815 designs were inspired by Gothic art and architecture and by nature. 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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
cast Iron and gold
Brief Description
Necklace, iron openwork plaques of classical subjects alternating with flowers and with gold griffins' heads, Germany, ca. 1815-1820.
Physical Description
Necklace, iron openwork plaques of classical subjects alternating with flowers, set in gold; intermediate links with gold griffins' heads.
Dimensions
  • Fastened height: 18cm
  • Fastened width: 18cm
  • Unclasped length: 48cm
  • Depth: 0.6cm
Production
Prussia
Subjects depicted
Summary
This necklace is a remarkable example of the caster's art. The individual narrative elements are encircled by ovoid frames that were cast separately and then joined to create a silhouette effect. 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. Women donated gold jewellery to their country in exchange for iron inscribed ‘I gave gold for iron’.



Early Berlin ironwork was Neo-classical in style using motifs such as palmettes, acanthus leaves and cameos. After 1815 designs were inspired by Gothic art and architecture and by nature. 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.
Bibliographic Reference
Cast iron from Central Europe1800-1850 The Bard graduate centre, 1994, p.275 For similar.
Collection
Accession Number
454-1898

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record createdAugust 9, 2005
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