A three dimensional flower is at the center of the neckline in this garland of iron. Alternate links are rosettes, and vines. Berlin Iron jewelry is a prized possession and has been since early 1800. It is light on the body, delicate in appearance, yet strong, This necklace was made of iron when Napoleon's persistence to expand his empire, drove the German treasury to ask citizens to turn in their gold for iron bringing money to the treasury to continue the war effort. Berlin Iron Jewelry brings us the history and lost art from a period over 200 years ago. Patriotic citizens gave gold for iron to support the integrity of their nation. Today it is a rare collectors item for museums and followers of historic jewelry. Excellent condition.
Where to begin describing an object so beautiful, and wearable at that? Wider than Berlin Iron bracelets I have found, this gothic lace cuff has an eight petal flower at the clasp, the back of which has the Geiss mark. All of the iron work is made of flower forms. Each link has a rosette at center from which long petals radiate north and south. Vines and leaves grow in the spaces of open worked iron. Small crosses of different styles can be seen here and there. A marvel of texture in lace like black, this bracelet was made during the period of the Napoleonic takeover attempt of Germany.
Aristocracy gave gold jewelry to be melted by the treasury and received iron jewels as reward for their patriotism which was much needed to support the war. Berlin Iron jewelry was always prized. Originally European upper class women wanted a piece brought to them from a duke or count traveling to Germany. Now the finest European museums hold collections and collectors of historic objects and antique jewelry lovers covet iron jewelry in fine condition. This bracelet is excellent in every way. It is the epitome of beauty and fine condition.
An extremely rare, dense Berlin Iron Chain c.1800 suspends a large cross of twists and loops. In the chain, the iron is woven or knit into strong, mesh. There is a similar example of this chain in Anne Clifford "Cut Steel and Berlin Iron" page 81. Berlin Iron, a scarce commodity, is one of our specialties. It originates from Germany when the treasury was low and money was needed for the war. Aristocrats, the only citizens who had gold jewelry, were asked to turn in their gold for iron. There followed acts of patriotism when the wealthy stepped forward and gave their gold jewelry for the nation's need. This giving of gold for iron was repeated during World War 1. Most Berlin Iron jewelry is in European museums. This example is in excellent condition and in its original black color. The chain measures 41 inches long. The magnificent cross adds 3 1/4 inches in length and 2 1/2 inches in width. It is suspended by a split ring and can be removed and worn alone.
The high value of cut steel jewelry from its beginnings is attributed to customers living in the Georgian and Victorian ages who understood and valued the intensive effort made to bring the beauty of such jewels to their conclusion. Mirrors and tiny faceted steel bits formed into floral shapes were riveted to back plates with rivets the size of pin heads. No glue was used. Gold washed steel or brass was favored for the backs. The rivets, used in the 19th century hand made steel jewelry can be seen in image 7. The workmanship was time intensive as you can imagine from the photographs, each bit being cut and polished and set by hand. The bright light of the camera enhances the brass tone from the back that is barely visible to the eye. To imagine the context in which this necklace was worn, picture the open necklines and upswept hairstyles of the early 19th century. This cut steel jewel was without fabric or hair to hide its diamond-like glimmer from reflecting the candlelight. Each bit was placed stratigically to catch available light. The original studded clasp remains on the necklace. The necklace is in excellent condition. It has kept its brightness and has no rust. The length is 17 inches. The pendant drops 1 1/2 inches from the center.
Forget-me-nots are at the center of this pair of delicate earrings. The shape is the form of a flower with petals of cut steel. Flowers replaced words in sentimental jewelry of the 19th century and were a language of their own. Blue forget-me-nots and daisies represented thoughts of love and remembrance. When a gent gifted his love with an image of a forget-me-not, he was telling her that he was thinking of her or that he wished she think of him. The have had their wires replaced from steel to gold. The blue flowers are enamel. Condition is very good. The trace of discoloration visible in the magnified image, has been well cleaned. Approx 1 1/2 in in length 1/2 in in width
Cut Steel Jewelry combined with jet, onyx, Wedgewood, enamel or mother-of-pearl rarely comes along. These very early ear drops are girandole form, that is they have three hanging parts. The steel bits are hand cut, faceted and polished but the bits are a tour d'force of varied shapes. Central is a glistening mother of pearl oval on which is a forget-me-not has been set. This small flower broadcasts the message known in the language of flowers, "think of me". All silver setting. Original back to front ear wires are in place. They can be changed to shepherds hooks if the buyer so declares. Fine condition of which you and we can be proud. The tarnished spots on the drops cannot be seen with the eye or with a loup. It is a photographic phenomenon. Same is true of the tan color on the mother of pearl. There is no rust. Length 1 3/4 in.
An original 19th century cut steel hair comb with all the sparkle of the day it was made. The ornament was cut, faceted and polished by hand around 1830. The tortoise comb is on a hinge so that it will slip into your hair with a secure fit. In the days when women dressed for day in a quieter way albeit with a lot of jewels, they held no sparkle in reserve at nightfall. Cut steel was prized. It had the art and sparkle of diamonds in the evening candlelight. Now in the spirit of joy, fun and delight, we again wear hair ornaments. After all, the night is young and you are beautiful. How a bride will shine with this comb in her hair. The condition is perfect. England.
The revival of hair ornaments brings a welcome feminine touch and lots of fun to upswept hair. In the early 1800's hair ornaments were serious jewelry. Cut steel, hand made from steel bits, emulated diamonds at that time when the candle provided the only source of light indoors. With their hand cut facets, the bits glistened and sparkled catching the eye and the candle glow. This ornament is original. The butterfly is set with a flexible hinge. I imagine it in a bride's hair and after the wedding, at all happy occasions. There is no deterioration to the condition. It has been cared for through the century. The only care needed is to keep it dry.
The Victorians used flowers as symbols for words and feelings. Daisies meant gentleness and innocence. This pair of French Jet earrings have black faceted petals with the floral seed section faceted as well. French Jet, similar to Vauxhall Glass, was a material used in jewelry during Queen Victoria's period of mourning for Prince Albert. That was 140 years ago. Today we think of these earrings as cheerful, lovely and feminine, light on the ear. Excellent condition
Forget-me-nots are at the center of this pair of delicate earrings in the form of a flower with petals of cut steel. Flowers replaced words in sentimental jewelry of the 19th century and were a language of their own. Blue forget-me-nots and daisies represented thoughts of love and remembrance. When a gent gifted his love with an image of a forget-me-not, he was telling her that he was thinking of her. These lovely earrings carry the same loving message. They have had their wires replaced from steel to gold. The blue flowers are enamel. Condition is very good. The trace of discoloration visible in the magnified image, has been cleaned., Approx 1 1/2 in in length 1/2 in in width
An elegant. early Berlin Iron necklace that lays gracefully on the body as garlands of iron chain drape classical cameos around the neck. The mesh bands and cameos are finished with gold. Each cameo is an oval of approximately one inch in width. Pictured within the gold frames are cupid playing a lyre while seated on a running lion, a woman reclining in a chariot, and a staunch guard on horseback. A feminine and rare necklace of light weight, captivating inside an open crisp white shirt or worn for occasions. Perfect condition. Germany
As an investment, Berlin Iron is a class of jewelry that is as good as gold. It was made in the late 18th and early 19th century. The value of fine pieces has increased since its creation and continues to increase today.
This necklace of weightless and graceful leaves is a magnificent example of the genre. It was made by Geiss for the German people during the Napoleonic campaign, Germany was running out of money due to the long, hard war. The treasury turned to the people for help and requested aristocratic gold jewelry be donated for the war effort. In return, iron factories produced iron jewelry to give the donors for their patriotism. Artistry in iron bracelets,necklaces and earrings were made. Europeans outside of Germany wanted such jewels as well. Dukes and Counts were asked to bring back Berlin Iron for their lady friends. Today, Berlin Iron in perfect condition is scarce and in museum collections.
This necklace is a treasure. See the period of manufacture and this design documented in "Cut Steel and Iron Jewelry" written by Anne Clifford, page 73, plate III. It remains in perfect condition. Other examples of Berlin Iron can be found on this web site.