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

Pendant Cross

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 during 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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cast iron
Brief Description
Pendant cross, cast iron, Berlin (probably), ca.1820-30
Physical Description
Cross pendant formed of lozenge-shaped filigree tracery at each end of the cross. A flower device covers the central pin.
Dimensions
  • Height: 3.5in
  • Width: 3in
Gallery Label
15. PENDANT CROSS, cast iron,Germany; c.1820-30 Museum No. 33-1888(07/1994)
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 during 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.
Bibliographic Reference
Dereck Ostergaard, ed.Cast Iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850 New York, The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994
Collection
Accession Number
33-1888

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdNovember 6, 2007
Record URL