Thursday, 29 July 2010
I hate to be predictable, but how amazing is this Berlin Iron necklace and earring set? Berlin Iron jewellery has always caught my eye, as the pieces tend to be so very me: ornate, black, gothic and historical. Indeed, the history behind such pieces is very interesting and further adds to their appeal (and value).
Prior to 1813, jewellery represented only a small portion of the iron objects, both functional and decorative, coming out of Berlin (the then capital of Prussia). The blackened finish meant that iron jewellery was originally associated with mourning. Between 1813-1815 however, Berlin Iron jewellery reached its peak of popularity and production beyond mourning, as women of wealth wore the jewellery to symbolise patriotism. During the War of Liberation against Napoleon, the Prussian authorities urged the aristocracy to donate their gold jewellery, in a bid to fund the war. In exchange, they were given ironwork jewellery, often bearing the inscription 'Gold gab ich für Eisen' (I gave gold for iron) or 'eingetauscht zum Wohle des Vaterlandes' (exchanged for the welfare of the Fatherland). Such symbols of loyalism were extremely popular, with over 41,000 pieces of Berlin Iron jewellery made in 1814 alone.
My favourite aspect of this set has to be the fastening on the necklace, formed by two clasping hands. What a lovely hidden detail, only to be appreciated by the wearer.
On a slightly related note, this sort of blackened ornate jewellery is reminding of the pieces created for Karl Lagerfelds ss09 collection, which I talked about here. Muriel Grateau is another jeweller who creates similarly complex lacy pieces, but I can't think of anyone else. I would love to find a modern jeweller who creates dramatic pieces inspired by Berlin Iron work, any ideas?
images from Ruby Lane seller The Three Graces