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Necklace and earrings

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)
    Berlin (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron and polished steel, the loops of the earrings of gold

  • Museum number:

    5368 to B-1901

  • Gallery location:

    On display in Values of Design, Design Society, Shekou, China []

Cast-iron jewellery was an inexpensive but fashionable novelty for consumers in Europe and America from around 1800 to 1860. Cast iron medallions were made in the royal ironworks at Gleiwitz from 1798, and another royal factory was founded in Berlin in 1804. The first jewellery was made in Berlin in 1806. Iron jewellery 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 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 listed as producing jewellery, and manufacture had spread to France and Austria.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)
Berlin (made)


ca.1830 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cast iron and polished steel, the loops of the earrings of gold


Height: 6.5 cm 5368A-1901 and 5368B-1901, Width: 2.5 cm 5368A-1901 and 5368B-1901, Depth: 1.1 cm 5368A-1901 and 5368B-1901, Length: 40 cm 5368-1901, Width: 11.6 cm 5368-1901, Width: 7.1 cm, Diameter: 0.8 cm 5368-1901

Descriptive line

Necklace and earrings, cast iron, Berlin, ca.1830.

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

Derek Ostergard and Martina Dalton ed.Cast Iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850 New York, The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994.


Cast iron; Steel



Subjects depicted

Rosettes; Anchor; Heart; Cross


Jewellery; Metalwork; Ironwork; Europeana Fashion Project; Interiors; Household objects; Shekou; Values of Design; Design Society


Metalwork Collection

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