Love it or hate it, it’s Valentine’s Day! A day that has celebrated romantic love in the West since the Middle Ages, it is often marked with the giving of gifts as tokens of love.
Love and jewellery have long been associated with each other, from betrothal to mourning; it has been given and worn to show passion, devotion and loss. It’s around this time every year that advertisements start popping up declaring diamonds to be the perfect way to declare love.
Throughout history, people have expressed love through jewellery and adornment in many forms and although the late Georgians loved their diamonds as much as we do, they also declared love through miniature portraits.
Expressions of affection were displayed with the addition of the delicate placing of a loved one’s curls or plaits embellishing the portrait.
There is something enticing about this ‘lover’s eye’ brooch that draws people in. The glimpse of the wearer’s identity makes us want to know more. Who was she? Who was her lover? What was her story? We will probably never know who she was, for the time being; let’s just enjoy this beautifully crafted piece of Georgian jewellery.
This brooch will go on display in the Museum’s major jewellery exhibition to open in September 2014.
Rebecca Evans, Assistant Curator