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Very Breezy

Rare Victorian Vulcanite Grape Choker Necklace ca. 1860

Rare Victorian Vulcanite Grape Choker Necklace ca. 1860

Regular price $335.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $335.00 USD
Sale Sold out
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This piece is so special and so rare: it dates to the Victorian era, more specifically the 1860s, and was likely made in Britain. It is crafted from vulcanite and features a teardrop shape with a high relief bunch of grapes in intricate detail, surrounded by a border of carved beads, strung on a fine black ribbon, to be worn as choker. (I love it strung on the Victorian Jet Choker pictured, which is also available.) The vulcanite has this truly stunning, relatively matte finish, with a rich warm glow— it's just so unique and unlike any other material. What is vulcanite? It is made by combining the sap of the Euphorbia or Ficus trees from Malaysia, with sulphur. It was originally invented in 1843 by Thomas Hancock. His timing just happened to be spot-on: black had long been considered essential to mourning jewelry and mourning dress, but thanks to Queen Victoria's extended 40 years of grieving (for her husband, Prince Albert), from about 1860-1890, black was considered a highly fashionable color, and began to be worn outside mourning dress. During this period, vulcanite became a very fashionable material for jewelry, and it loaned objects that gothic, romantic, dramatic black cast that Victorians just loved. Victorian mourning jewelry is rife with grape motifs; for one, grapes were a symbols of Christ (as wine is the blood of Christ). On Victorian grave markers, a cluster of grapes typically means that the deceased was of mature years. Victorians are well known for using flowers and botanicals as a means of communication. Wild grapes, according to The Language of Flowers published in 1913,  are symbols of Charity, a favorite Victorian theme. The Victorian Hair Mourning Pendant and Antique Onyx Cross Pendant pictured are also available. The pendant measures 38 mm long (with ring) x 27 mm wide. Note that the ribbon is not original to the piece but it is included and ties in the back, making the length adjustable. 

Great antique condition. With any questions about the specific condition or size, please email for additional photos or measurements, as all sales are final.

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