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Berlin Iron Gothic Revival Earrings, circa 1830

Berlin Iron Gothic Revival Earrings, circa 1830

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1427221
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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Our Berlin iron gothic revival earrings were made in the early part of the nineteenth century and are a wonderful example of historic jewelry. Berlin Iron was first made between 1806-1812, around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when wealthy Germans were asked to surrender their gold and precious gems for the war effort, in exchange for the delicate and beautifully crafted Berlin iron jewelry. Some of the larger pieces even bore the inscription "Gold gab Ich fur eisen"- "Gold I gave for iron". After Napolean absconded with the casting molds on his march on Berlin, France began to make Berlin Iron too. The process of making Berlin iron began with molding wax which was pressed into impressions, into which the molten iron was poured. The pieces were then hand finished with black lacquer. The strongest visual effect was created when the black jewelry was worn against pale skin. Not surprisingly, Berlin Iron was frequently worn as mourning jewelry as well. After 1815, the neo-classical designs of earlier Berlin ironwork of 1812 were replaced by Gothic motifs such as the quatrefoil and the pointed arch, as seen in our earrings. By this time Berlin Iron was also being made in France and England. Its popularity continued until 1850. Germany, France and England all lay claim to Berlin iron as historic jewelry. Much of the Berlin iron jewelry and objects that have survived is on display in museums in all of these countries and not available privately. We are lucky to have found this wonderful example from the gothic revival period. The earrings are a little over 1 ½ inches long and 1 inch at their widest.