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

Bracelet

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

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’.

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
Cast iron and polished steel
Brief Description
Bracelet, cast iron and polished steel, openwork with stylised foliage, Berlin ca.1820
Physical Description
Bracelet of cast iron openwork in oblong links with stylised foliage and cameo of warrior's head.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.125in
  • Length: 7.5in
Gallery Label
8. BRACELET, cast iron and polished steel, Germany; c.1815 Museum No. Circ.170-1917(07/1994)
Subject depicted
Summary
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’.



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
Derek Ostergard and Martina D'Alton, ed.Cast iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850, New York, The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994, pp..290-293
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.170-1917

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record createdNovember 1, 2007
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