The varied history of personalised jewellery

The varied history of personalised jewellery - Keep Things Personal

Long before we started engraving names and sentimental messages on our jewellery, there was another element of personalisation. 

Even before records began people across the globe wore precious gemstones and metal adornments to reflect the unique characteristics of the wearer. You only have to look back a few decades at the popularity of birthstones as a source of personalisation yet this goes back as far as 16th Century Europe. By the Victorian era, from 1837–1901, birthstones were considered the favourite stone of choice for engagements until they were superseded by diamonds in the mid-20th Century. Zodiac symbols are also closely linked with personal identity largely derived from the Greek philosopher Ptolemy in the 2nd Century but its mainstream popularity started in the 1930s and then again in the 1970s.

Historically, King Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn is perhaps the most famous royal wearer of initial jewellery, with her portrait – which hangs in London’s National Portrait Gallery – featuring a pearl ‘B’ necklace and is reported to have been her favourite piece of jewellery. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, was photographed wearing a sterling silver ‘D’ choker in her younger days, which was replaced by a larger gold version when she rose to public prominence. 

Initialled jewelled pendants and monogrammed jewels were largely for rulers, royals, and the most powerful members of a court until the 19th Century. Signet rings signet rings were also reserved for the aristocracy and go as far back as a Persian king wearing a signet ring in the Bible.

Unsurprisingly, the signet ring was used in place of a written signature; crafted in solid gold and engraved or set with carved gemstones, they would be dipped in wax and pressed on documents. The wax marks would be a coat of arms, monogram, family seal, or the wearer’s initials. Even without the wax signing, signet rings are still recognised as a modern day status symbol.

During the 19th Century, jewellery manufacturing grew to meet the demands of the middle classes and there was a surge in the popularity of sentimental jewellery especially for initialled and monogrammed jewels. Charm bracelets also became popular in the 1920s and 40s allowing for a truly individualised style of jewel wearing and they still have a prominent place in the jewellery market today. Now, in the 21st Century, Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bella Hadid are some of the top celebrity wearers of initial pendants.

Personalised jewellery affirms identity and beauty and people love the unique element of personalisation which brings about modern style coupled with ancient history. That’s why we have introduced a new and stunning range of bracelets and necklaces which can all be personalised for that added special touch for a birthday, anniversary or other occasion. Please visit:

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