Stepping back in time

by Holyrood PR

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Union Jack brooch

Women are saying goodbye to Boho and welcoming in fashion from a different era – and there’s nothing strait-laced about the latest Victorian look.

This season self-respecting fashionistas are getting ready to bare their bloomers in favour of fashion inspired by the height of the British empire.

Already favoured by fashion houses Chloe, Moschino and Alberta Ferretti, this look is the epitome of all things ladylike with intricate detailing and flowing fabrics giving the period style a modern twist.

The result is ruffled skirts, high collared blouses and boned corsets all oozing Victorian glamour with jewel encrusted brooches and pendants adding the finishing touches to ensembles.

Hot on the heels of this latest trend is leading Edinburgh jeweller Alistir Wood Tait who has an eclectic range of pieces, with prices to suit most purses, all originating from the Victorian era.

The respected gemmologist is renowned for his dazzling antique and fine jewellery collection and items can be used to inject Victorian glamour into any outfit.

Alistir, who owns Alistir Wood Tait Antique and Fine Jewellery on Rose Street shop, was thrilled to hear the period style was this season’s hottest trend.

He said: “I have always admired Victorian jewellery as the craftsmanship of each piece is outstanding. Pieces would have been painstakingly made as they are extremely detailed so a good amount of blood, sweat and tears went into each item.

“The most preferred style for designers was flowers set with gemstones – inspired by the works of William Morris and the arts and craft movement, but the designs also mimic archaeological eras as well as the Art Nouveau period.”

Alistir’s vast collection contains scores of Victorian pieces, but some of the items on offer are a quirky Union Jack brooch set with diamonds, sapphires and rubies which costs £2500 whereas a sophisticated butterfly brooch, crafted from cut steel to give the illusion that gemstones have been used, is available for £250.

A pretty silver and amethyst brooch is also £250 and for serious jewellery collectors an original Castellani brooch, containing daises made up from the unique micro mosaic material, costs £1500.

Alistir said: “Although the pieces are elaborate, any woman can wear Victorian jewellery. A brooch can be used to add just a hint of glamour but those ladies who are wanting a full-on effect should look towards intricately designed necklaces and bracelets which are set with dazzling gemstones as they really will attract admiring glances.”

For something visually striking, an amethyst and pearl gothic design necklace costs £855. For something a little more understated, yet still eye-catching, a three-strand necklace encrusted with pearls and amethysts is available for £1150.

But if diamonds and pearls are a must, a beautiful star shaped pendant encrusted with scores of pearls and a single solitaire diamond costs £1200.

Alistir said: “Amethyst was widely used in the Victorian era, simply because it was such a very wearable gem and widely available. Also the majority of pieces were set in gold and what was unusual is that they were 15 carat gold but were put in an acid bath to burn off the alloy on the surface to give this effect.

“But come the 1930’s the trend for 15 carat gold had diminished and the popular 9 and 18 carat gold which we see today took over. Although 24 carat gold is the purest, Scottish gold is among the best naturally occurring in the world, at 22.8 carats and can be found in Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire and Sutherland.”

 

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