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 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The classical cameos and vine leaves are common devices in Berlin ironwork. 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 acanthus leaves, palmettes and cameos. James Tassie's glass pastes and Josiah Wedgwood's jasperware were copied for portraits and mythological scenes.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
Iron
Brief Description
Necklace, iron, with classical figures in silhouette, with vine and acanthus decoration, Germany, about 1820
Physical Description
Necklace, iron, with classical figures in silhouette, alternating with vine leaves in an acanthus frame.
Dimensions
  • Fastened height: 18.5cm
  • Fastened width: 18.5cm
  • Unclasped length: 48.5cm
  • Depth: 0.4cm
Credit line
Given by Miss Little
Subjects depicted
Summary
The classical cameos and vine leaves are common devices in Berlin ironwork. 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 acanthus leaves, palmettes and cameos. James Tassie's glass pastes and Josiah Wedgwood's jasperware were copied for portraits and mythological scenes.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 of Central Europe, 1800-1850, Bard Graduate Centre, 1994, p.290
Collection
Accession Number
M.46-1925

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record createdAugust 10, 2005
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