Dressing up like a Victorian lady, Part 3: Jewelry and such

Now we arrive at the minor accessories for trying to present a historical look. Isn’t it the details that make an image?

I feel one of the most noticeable details some of us need to grapple with is eye wear. Unfortunately, it’s also an expensive one. I cannot see without glasses, and my current ones are purple–not a Victorian look.  Serious reenactors have their prescriptions put in the correct frames, from companies like the Historic Eye Wear Company.

Eye Wear Frames from the Historical Eye Wear Company

Eye Wear Frames from the Historical Eye Wear Company

Thankfully, I saved  my old metal rims which are close enough.

Wire rimmed glasses

We’ll see how I feel about that long-ago prescription at the end of the day!

Next on my list was jewelry. A wonderful article, Getting a Clue About Accessories from Historical Sewing.com, set me straight on a number of items, including earrings. During the Victorian era they hung on wires and were made of natural materials.

Wires…wires…I have mostly posts, but found a pair I haven’t seen in years.

Handmade earrings on wires

I bought these beaded porcupine quill loops from a woman who volunteered while I was a summer seasonal at Coulee Dam National Recreation Area. She was a Native American member of the Colville Reservation, and had handmade them in a traditional style…or so I was told. Can’t verify that, but I figure porcupine quills fall squarely into natural materials. Though the mammal was not native to Britain, the ‘colonies’ had them.  Wouldn’t people have been fascinated enough by the quills to import and use them in jewelry? In more recent times, the 1970s, a few porcupines did escape museums in Britain and establish themselves.

Among ideas on Historical Emporium, I learned that a cameo would be appropriate. I went searching my jewelry chest for a cameo my aunt brought back from Italy for me. I found it–on the left–and a second, larger one.


My husband’s grandmother bought it for herself sometime between 1910-1915 (kept a reminder note with it). That struck me as probably the oldest piece I would find…and then I found a locket I had forgotten about, one that had belonged to my husband’s mother.

Victorian locket

The accompanying note gives the history: “This Locket was given to Jean when she graduated from Ferry Hall (a girls boarding school) by her Godmother, Hazel Oswalt. it was purchased at the Caledon Market, London. Made in Victorian England c 1880.”

All right!

Two other small items I’ll carry were purchased from a steampunk vendor at Balticon for my steampunk costume–which, I forgot to mention during part 1, is an astronomer costume. They are appropriate for the times and things a landowner like Mistress Gere would have and use.

brass compass

A brass compass

spy glass

A spy glass that fits in one’s hand. I fashioned a belt holder for it when I put together the astronomer costume.

spy glass in a holder

Showing this leather work leads into a hint of what I’ll present tomorrow–hopefully

leather lacing

I have some work to do to complete it…and only two days until the Baltimore Book Festival!



About Laurel Wanrow

Magic. Nature. Adventure.

Posted on September 23, 2015, in New Adult Novels, Steampunk fantasy romance, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That locket is fantastic, and it’s from 1880 too! How beautiful it is!

    Liked by 1 person

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