Lover’s Eye Jewelry

I’ve been fascinated by Lover’s Eye jewelry ever since I saw a collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum many years ago. And what better time to do a post on this unique short lived Georgian jewelry craze (1790-1820) than now when we are masked and can only see our loved ones, actually everyone’s, eyes! Perhaps a revival is in order, we all can use a bit of romance in our lives!

From the V&A collection

The story has a romantic beginning and takes us to the court of the future King George IV of England, then the Prince of Wales, and his secret lover, Maria Fitzherbert.

George IV
Maria Fitzherbert

Since Mrs. Fitzherbert was divorced it would prove difficult for them to be married. After many proposals, George sent her a locket containing a portrait of his eye, along with the note: “P.S. I send you a parcel … and I send you at the same time an Eye, if you have not totally forgot the whole countenance. I think the likeness will strike you.”

She replied to the sent image with a portrait of her own eye. They were married in a secret ceremony.

Most of the miniatures are painted in watercolor on ivory or gouache on card, the miniatures were set in pins, rings, and lockets for women and various containers such as snuff boxes or stick pins for men. Usually a decorative border of burnished or engraved gold, gems or pearls surround the portrait and often a hair compartment was included to hold a loved one’s hair. Obviously very intimate and meant for the recipient “eyes” only, they were small and to be concealed.

A charming portrait holding a portrait!

Here are some of my favorite finds….you can go to my Pinterest Board to see the many images I have collected

My most favorite.

It is said that if the miniature portrait was surrounded in pearls the subject was deceased.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collections early 19th century.
From the V&A Collections early 19th century

A couple of books…..

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