A Unique ProposalA Unique Proposal

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A Unique Proposal

Many couples are currently busy planning beautiful spring and summer weddings. In less than two months, my younger sister is marrying her best friend in a lovely church ceremony. In addition to weddings, the warm weather months are also popular times in the year for girlfriends and boyfriends to propose to the special people in their lives. If you are planning an upcoming proposal, consider popping the question to your significant other at a unique location such as an art gallery. Imagine your loved one’s surprise and delight when you ask him or her to marry you in an art gallery surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful pieces of art. On this blog, you will discover the reasons an art gallery is the perfect place for a proposal.

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Three Popular Designs In Victorian Antique Jewelry (And What To Look For Before You Buy)

When buying antique jewelry from the romantic Victorian era, it's best to familiarize yourself with the designs that were popular during that period. Popular romantic Victorian jewelry (named in honor of England's Queen Victoria) were lockets, brooches and rings, as these three designs often held sentimental value. Obtaining documentation and prior history of your antique jewelry is important, and you should closely examine estate pieces for flaws. Here's a rundown of the three most popular antique jewelry designs of the Victorian era and what to look for before you buy:

1. Antique Lockets

During the early to mid 1800s, romantic jewelry was worn by women of all ages. The lockets were often given as gifts and became family heirlooms, mostly due to the sentimental value. Lockets are pendants commonly worn on a necklace. The locket opens up to encase a small keepsake or sentimental belonging. When shopping for antique lockets, here are a few choices you may encounter:

  • A Photograph Locket: Photo lockets are two-sided, allowing the wearer to place a small photo on each side when opened. Shapes may vary, although heart-shaped and oval lockets with intricate designs were the most common. During the Victorian period, women often placed photos inside of a deceased loved one, or photos of a loved one away at war. Photo lockets were also given as weddings gifts.

  • A Keepsake Locket: Unlike a photo locket, the antique keepsake locket may have a deeper encasement. This enables the locket to hold a keepsake inside, such as a gemstone or charm. Other keepsakes may be placed inside the locket, and this may include a lock of hair or even a message or poem written on a small folded card or piece of paper.

  • A Perfume Locket: Sometimes referred to as scent lockets, these open to reveal a scented wax or soap that may be placed inside. This popular choice was often worn during the Victorian era, and you may find this antique design in solid brass, steel, silver or gold. Filigree designs were popular in this type of locket.

When choosing any style of antique locket, examine the hinges closely. They should open with fluid movement. Locket hinges must be tight and shut flush against the case.

2. Antique Brooches and Cameos

  • The Victorian Brooch: Antique brooches were often made with ornate styling and included a pin back for attaching to a garment. Often worn on a sweater or jacket, the ladies' brooch of the Victorian era was a popular accessory. Most commonly, you'll find antique estate brooches made of enamel, gold or silver. Floral designs were popular back then, and many were accentuated with pearl accents.

    Before you buy your antique brooch, check the pin back. It should be unbent. If the pin has become loose, it may need to be replaced.

  • The Antique Cameo: Antique cameo pins were intricately carved from coral, mother-of-pearl and lava, although other materials were used as well. The cameo style brooch will have a raised relief and the carving will display a profile of a woman. This profile may depict a renowned woman of the Victorian era, a mythical character, or the likeness of a mother and child.

    When buying antique cameos, look for fine details in the carvings. Stones and materials should be smooth with no cracks. Most authentic Victorian cameos will have incorporated several layers of color into the design.

3. Victorian Estate Rings

A Victorian estate ring may be constructed of solid metal such as gold or silver, although many include diamond and gemstone accents. Popular gemstones used in Victorian jewelry were the ruby, amethyst, sapphire and topaz. Many rings of the Victorian era also included a cameo relief design.

Whatever style of Victorian ring you choose to buy, it should be examined for flaws using a jeweler's loupe or a magnifying glass. Stones should not be missing or loose. Prongs should be tight as well. For higher value, choose diamond rings with a clear color, rather than a yellow hue.

When buying your antique jewelry from an estate sale, ask for documentation that states the previous owner, such as a receipt of purchase, if possible. Request a brief rundown or history of the antique jewelry. It's also a good idea to seek a professional appraisal before making your purchase.