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  • Earrings
    Devaranne, Siméon Pierre, born 1789 - died 1859
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Berlin (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca.1815-ca.1820 (designed)
    ca.1815-1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Devaranne, Siméon Pierre, born 1789 - died 1859 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast iron with polished steel

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 16, shelf B, box 4 []

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’.

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.

Physical description

Pair of earrings, Berlin iron, openwork butterflies with drops set over polished steel.

Place of Origin

Berlin (probably, made)


ca.1815-ca.1820 (designed)
ca.1815-1851 (made)


Devaranne, Siméon Pierre, born 1789 - died 1859 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cast iron with polished steel


Height: 7.8 cm including hook, Width: 2.6 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

The design about 1815-20; this example probably shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851 by S.P. Devaranne of Berlin.

Descriptive line

Pair of earrings, Berlin iron, openwork butterflies with drops set over polished steel, probably made by Siméon Pierre Devaranne in Germany (Berlin), early 19th century

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

Cast Iron from Central Europe, 1800-1850 The Bard Graduate Centre, 1994

Production Note



Iron; Steel


Casting; Polishing

Subjects depicted

Butterflies; Openwork


Images Online; Jewellery; Metalwork; Great Exhibition; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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