Opulence Of Jewelry In Andrew Prince's Downton To Gatsby

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Andrew Prince’s lecture “Downton to Gatsby” has revealed a continuing passion for jewelry that, according to andrewprince.co.uk, developed when he was a young child; however, it was not until recent movie and television commissions that he was catapulted into fame outside of the jewelry world. Prince has given his talk at the Victoria and Albert Museum where audiences were able to try on several of his creations and antiques for the evening.
Having been inspired by the opulence of jewelry pieces long forgotten to the changes in history and fashion, Prince has not only continued to inspire others but he has also created a specialized area for himself by studying and creating jewelry belonging to the 1800s and 1900s. He even developed a photographic memory in order to better absorb what he saw in auctions and photographs which the audience learned at his lecture.
Prince’s lecture reviews many amazing pieces of jewelry through the transitional periods of late Victorian, Edwardian, and Gatsby eras. These eras were locked together in influence and styles and remain important because as the fashions changed during these periods, so did the jewelry. The Victorian period had several distinct styles such as chokers and stomachers. The Edwardian period saw floral motifs, pearls, and tiaras were becoming the essentials as hairstyles, necklines, and corsets changed. Finally, the world transitioned into the Gatsby period where corsets became a thing of the past as women favored the art deco style with long strands of pearls and monochromatic designs. This period was also the start of bandeaus, “an ornamental headband or type of tiara,” which are often used as an accessory for Gatsby-style costumes (Lang Antiques).
The Victorian era took pla...

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...ontinuation of the bandeau hair accessory. It truly was an exciting time as the world celebrated new discoveries such as the tomb of King Tut which, according to Prince, caused a surge of Egyptian motifs.
Ending the period and lecture was the interesting fact that the stock market crash of 1929 did not cause jewelry to fade into the background, but instead caused it to evolve again.
This fascinating man, who came all the way from England, was able to convey the majority of this during his lecture and provide examples through his photographs of influential people of the time such as Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. It reminded me to think about how far we have come in terms of fashion and jewelry and for just an hour I was given a glimpse of times long past, a sparkling world full of potential and beauty, even if it was only in the imagination of the audience.

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