Antique Victorian Onyx and Pearl Star Earrings, 15k Gold, c. 1900

     Victorian mourning jewelry was worn by both men and women on the occasion of a friend or relative’s death. Going into mourning traditionally meant wearing black attire for a period of about 1 year after the funeral. While mourning jewelry predates the Victorian era by a half century or so, it is a style of jewelry that is most closely associated with the Victorians. This is most likely because Queen Victoria wore black for the last 40 years of her life, after the death of her beloved Prince Albert. During that time black jewelry in all its forms, whether glass, jet, enamel, onyx or agate, truly came into vogue. These earrings are from the turn of the century when England itself was mourning the death of their beloved Queen Victoria, and they have a truly regal and elegant look and feel to them.

     These antique earrings each have 9 pearls set into a six pointed 15 karat gold star which itself is mounted on an smooth and shiny oval of onyx, each 20 mm long and 16 mm wide, 3.7 mm thick. Together they weigh 7.9 grams. My sneaking suspicion is that the tops on these post-date the earrings, they likely would have originally had shepherd's hooks.

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