Small things...

There isn't much to report on here in Jane-land.  I'm still waiting to sew together my muslin for the Swing Dress Sew-along.  I've put it on hold this week, because I'm very busy costuming my school's High School Musical production of Cinderella.  No....I'm not making every costume.  I'm mostly altering costumes we've rented out from a local theater.  There is a slight chance I will be making a "regency inspired" gown for one of Cinderella's dresses, using the Sense and Sensibility Elegant Ladies Closet drawstring pattern.

All images that are not my own were taken from the V&A site.

Yesterday, I got together with the lovely ladies of the Jane Austen Sewing Society, and we discussed Georgian Jewelry.  Natalie, our ever impressive, research hound discovered a hoard of information and images on the web about what type of jewelry was worn in the late 18th century, early 19th century, who wore it, and how it was worn. 

What was most fascinating to me, was how politics played such a big role in what kind of jewelry was being worn.  I'm not the historical researcher that Natalie is, so I will probably royally mess this up.... but basically, before the french revolution "bling" was in.  Ladies were wearing necklaces, earrings, bracelets, broaches and hair adornments in just about every stone, precious metal and jewel you could think of.  Certain jewels came in and out of fashion, of course, but the over all consensus was, the more jewelry you had on you, the better. 

But, after the french revolution, on the European mainland especially, wearing a lot of jewelry was a sure sign of your aristocratic importance, and therefore brought about your death.  Also, around this time, was the discovery of the Italian city of Pompeii.  The Roman classical look was suddenly all the rage, and coral, pearls, cameos, and other, simple yet elegant items were seen worn amongst the gentry.  There was an over-all softening of what was considered beautiful.
During my college years, I took a trip to Italy, and I remember walking into a jewelery store just outside of the Pompeii archaeological site at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius.  The jewelry store had been there since the discovery of Pompeii, and was famous for it's coral jewelry, and replicas of jewelry that had been discovered in and around the city.  I bought a pair of earrings there...I can definitely understand the appeal that the ladies of the Georgian era had for the Roman jewelry.

You can see the coral strand that this lady is wearing.  The coral jewelry really appealed to me, and that's what I decided to replicate at yesterdays meeting.

It wasn't hard to find coral beads in my local craft store.  I also had a cameo that used to belong to my's from the 30's I believe, and made of resin (so it certainly isn't what a Georgian cameo would have been made of, but it will do just fine for me.) 

My friend Laura, brought all sorts of torture devices for bending wire....

But in the end, I didn't use wire at all, I went with silk thread.  I didn't finish my necklace, but you can see where I'm going with it.  I'm alternating the larger beads with the smaller beads, making only one strand, and letting the cameo dangle as a pendent in the center. 


And on a final note, the annual Jane Austen Festival of Louisville is looming on the horizon.  JASNA Louisville has made the first announcement for the event.  Personally, I am looking forward to the archery event.  I guess this means I need to kick it into gear with my quintessential white gown! 


held at
1790 National Historic Landmark, Historic Locust Grove (
Louisville, Kentucky

sponsored by
Greater Louisville Region
Jane Austen Society of North America
Event will feature:
"Cheer from Chawton" an Austen family theatrical by Karen Eterovich
Regency Emporium
Regency Style Show
Four-Course Afternoon Tea
Entertainment-duel between gentlemen, live music, ladies archery competition & more
a Grand Ball & more!
General Admission $10; ball, tea & workshops additional fee. Reservations begin June 1 at
Please contact Bonny Wise, Regional Coordinator for information about hotels, traveling, etc at

Oh, and P.S. - Our little Jane Austen Sewing Society just might have a role in this year's Jane Austen Festival!


ZipZip said…
Dear Jenni,

Hooray! Looking at jewelry is so much fun. I have tons more examples, an improved history, a set of bibligraphic resources, and more fashion plate/paintings/prints of jewelry in action.

Very best with the costuming for the play. You have so much going on!

Very best,

Natalie in KY
Nabila Grace said…
Sounds like you all had a fun get-together! ;o) Would love to see your necklace once it's all done! :o)
Sarah Jane said…
I too would love to see your necklace when you are done! I loved reading about the transition of regency jewelry fashions. This is something I know NOTHING about and am excited to learn more. Best of luck with the costumes!

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