The Victorian era saw a rise in popularity of Scottish culture. As with many trends of that era, it was Queen Victoria who led the way with this celebration of all things Scottish. From the mid-19th Century Victoria was frequenting Balmoral and would often return with jewellery and clothing as souvenirs of her trip. Citizens of the Victorian era were very much influenced by the Royal example, and before long Scottish style jewellery was being manufactured in England as well as mainland Europe, in line with the growing trend. Easier transportation across the British Isles post-Industrial Revolution also allowed the wealthy to travel around Britain and acquire their own souvenir jewellery.
Victorian Scottish jewellery usually includes the use of agate, a stone found in many countries across the globe, but with many deposits available across Scotland, notably in the east around Fife and Angus.
Agate is a polycrystalline variety of quartz, otherwise known as chalcedony, and is characterised by its bands or zones of differing colour. Colours are often vivid and widely contrasting, and bands can be translucent, transparent or opaque. The more elaborate the colouration, the more desirable the piece.
Victorian agate jewellery has become quite collectable in recent years, and McTear’s are delighted to have offered several good quality examples in this month’s Jewellery Auction.