Have you ever heard about acrostic jewellery? This jewellery is basically set with gemstones that spell out a word or message. Each gemstone represents a letter, almost like a sparkly alphabet that can be used to express your love to somebody. Acrostic jewellery was hugely popular in the Victorian and Edwardian ages. Upon recently discovering acrostic jewellery, I became even more hooked on gemstones which is something I could never could imagine as possible.
Okay, spelling out your love with gemstones might not seem like the grandest of gestures especially in a time when people overtly declare their love for somebody on social media every single day. But there is an undeniable sentimental and meaningful idea about wearing a piece of jewellery that has a secret message. Personally, I couldn’t think of a better way to express my feelings than with gemstones imbedded into a ring, but maybe I’m out-of-date. Acrostic jewellery seems to be a mysterious alternative to engraved pieces of jewellery, adding a personal, surreptitious and very sparkly message that many won’t even realise is even there.
Acrostic jewellery dates right back to the 18th century when French jeweler, Jean-Baptise Mellerio, ingeniously decided to spell out words with gemstones and it wasn’t long before that sparkling sentiments became popular for engagement rings and friendship charms. The trend was especially loved amongst the Victorianswho are often associated with their romantic personalities and love for hidden messages. Engagement rings with “regards” (it had a much deeper meaning back then) spelt out and “beloved” on them were often exchanged with the ring carrying a profound and romantic message in their married life. Many of the antique acrostic rings were set with stones that spelled out the names of the one they loved. And it wasn’t just for romantic relationships as some other pieces would be set with words such as “friendship” and “friend” – it seems like friendship bracelets really are timeless.
The gemstone alphabet isn’t as intricate as you may think – it simply takes the first letter of the name. For example, Amethyst would be the letter A, Peridot would be P and Garnet would be G. I would probably want to spell out the word ‘peace’ using gemstones like peridot and amethyst. Of course, some gemstones look similar and it may be hard to differentiate one from another which may cause the message to become a little mystifying. However, I don’t think it was that important to Victorians if a stranger passing by knew what their jewellery said. Especially considering that many jewellers would resort to using the colours of gems to fill in the gaps;fire opal would be “F” for example. The perplexing nature of acrostic jewellery only added to the popularity of the pieces for Victorians as it added an atmosphere of secrecy and mystery. Would it be important to you that everybody knew what your jewellery spelled or do you think it makes it a little more enigmatic and special?
There has been something of a small revival with acrostic jewellerylately with contemporary versions of the gemstone love letters floating around. Current designers have explored and created‘Love Letter’ collections, offering unique interpretations of the sentimental accessories. You can’t forget that the gemstones also have an extra spiritual side to them, making them all the more appealing. What I love the most about gemstone jewellery, acrostic or not, is that you can make them as personal and unique as you wish. Mixing gemstones that may signify a letter with gemstones that mean something to you or give you spiritual energy is a perfect way to wear an exclusive piece of jewellery that is special and personal to you or somebody else.
Jewellery has always been used to signify love and these romantic, beautiful and innovative pieces of jewellery showcase that stunningly. With the realization today of the undying love that is still enclosed in the jewellery from the Victorian ages, I think it needs to make a sparkling return.
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