Earring thumbnail 1
Earring thumbnail 2
+1
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Earring

ca.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. 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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Earring
  • Earring
  • Necklace
Materials and Techniques
Cast iron and polished steel, the loops of the earrings of gold
Brief Description
Necklace and earrings, cast iron, Berlin, ca.1830.
Dimensions
  • 5368 a 1901 and 5368 b 1901 height: 6.5cm (Note: of one earring)
  • 5368 a 1901 and 5368 b 1901 width: 2.5cm (Note: of one earring)
  • 5368 a 1901 and 5368 b 1901 depth: 1.1cm (Note: of one earring)
  • 5368 1901 length: 40cm (Note: necklace as worn)
  • 5368 1901 width: 11.6cm (Note: necklace as worn)
  • Width: 7.1cm (Note: of cross)
  • 5368 1901 diameter: 0.8cm (Note: chain)
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
Derek Ostergard and Martina Dalton ed.Cast Iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850 New York, The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994.
Collection
Accession Number
5368 to B-1901

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record createdNovember 7, 2007
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