Forget beads, feathers, sequins and pearls… when it comes to jewellery design opt for vintage mechanics, such as cogs, brass fittings and the workings of the inside of a clock. Steampunk jewellery is the next thing and has exploded onto the scene with its combination of fantasy, Victoriana and modernity and the resulting creation is something out of this world.
The jewellery must be futuristic but also look Victorian, using pieces from the steam age including cogs, wheels, antique brass and filigree and is beautiful and quirky in equal measure. Here at Ollie&Agnes we love it.
Jewellery designer Miss Emily Ladybird-Adventuress, says: ‘ The main artistic references are taken from the arts and crafts movement of the Victorian-era, lots of sinuous curves and organic-feeling metal work which complements the practical nature of the Victorian steam age. Cogs, gears and moving parts are a key feature to this type of jewellery, so parts from old watches are a favourite signature. Each designer has their own take on Steampunk.
The genre is HUGE in the states and swiftly gaining in popularity in the UK, and Miss LBA tells us here at Ollie&Agnes that the Oxford science museum held a Steampunk exhibition earlier in the year and it attracted more people, through the doors, than had visited the museum in the previous two years!
According to Miss Lady-Bird Adventuress Steampunk is definitely a “lifestyle” and literary movement, as well as a design-style, with conventions in the UK and USA. She says: ‘It is kind of like Goth or Punk in that it is a lifestyle as well as a design; dressing up in Victorian costume is a big part for many Steampunks, as is writing, reading and taking tea in the park. There are even bands who claim to play steampunk music!’
Steampunk is an alternative Victorian history inspired by the ‘Father of science fiction’ Jules Verne, author of Ten Thousand Leagues under the Sea and Journey to the Centre of the Earth and more recently Phillip Reeve who wrote the Larklight trilogy. Miss LBA explains: ‘It’s basically Victorian science fiction, and has actually been around forever, but the phrase ‘Steampunk’ has only been used since 1980-something; when William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote “The Difference Engine”. Since then, and with increasing frequency, fantasy films and graphic novels have used a lot of Steampunk design; including Hellboy and Vanhelsing.’
For more info check out the Victorian Steampunk Society and to see Miss Ladybird-Adventuress’ beautiful work – log on to: www.steampunkjewellery.co.uk , she also takes commissions and sells pieces at www.etsy.com/SparkleyJem
PS: Ollie&Agnes favourites The Tea Appreciation Society has also written about Steampunk in the form of a teapot they discovered, which was influenced, by the trend. This work of art was created by Cincinnati-based designer Michael Morarity and is an example of elegance from the Victorian era. (Log onto: www.teaappreciationsociety.org to join this lovely group!)
Photo by Miss Ladybird-Adventuress.