Elegant Edwardian: Make Jewelry Inspired by Downton Abbey

As I write this, I'm still in shock over the latest episode of Downton Abbey that I watched last night. No spoilers, but holy cow! I'm even more excited for next week than I usually am.

Champs Elysees Tassel pearl earrings
by Danielle Fox

I usually have to watch each episode twice to get the full effect–once to gawk at the jewelry and clothes, once to actually follow the story. I'm infatuated with Lady Mary, Countess Violet Crawley and Cora, the Countess of Grantham. I love Anna and Bates together, I nearly died at the end of season 3, and I'm so glad that hateful woman is gone from downstairs (though they seem to have replaced her with another troublemaker). Now if Barrow would leave, I'd be content!

Anyway, back to the vintage jewelry. Without giving too much away, did you notice the necklace "The Singer" (Dame Nellie Melba) was wearing in the latest episode (season 4, episode 2)? I love how they referred to her as The Singer, like she was The Butler or The Gardener. The necklace part of it looked just like SilverSilk or Alacarte Clasp's Wire Lace, with a big delicious pearl pendant hanging on it. I wear a large slightly teardrop-shaped baroque pearl on a wide silver piece of Wire Lace myself, so I was extra interested when I saw The Singer's necklace. (You can see it here.)


Nightingale Lariat pearl necklace
by Danielle Fox

I also like the wide beaded bracelets, long draping necklaces, especially in layers, or strands and strands of pearls (of course), with filigree all over the place, pearl tassels, hair pins, and sparkling beaded jet jewelry–and all the sparkly, beaded gowns to go with them.

And then there are the tiaras. I really think I should have lived during a time when tiaras were appropriate for dinner, don't you? Nevermind that you're already wearing a dress with more bling than many modern wedding gowns, plus long shoulder-dusting earrings, one or several long necklaces (or a triple strand of pearls), and a bracelet or two–that's not enough. You're going to need to top it off with a gorgeous diamond tiara. Oh, the decadence.

When Downton Abbey began, it was 1912, the end of the Edwardian period. The Titanic had just sunk–and my grandmothers were babies. The Granthams have made their way into the Roaring Twenties now, and their fashion is starting to take on a hint of flapper style, but there's still a lot of Victorian and Edwardian feel in their clothes and jewelry. After all, one doesn't just toss out one's Victorian diamonds simply because it's time to wear one's Edwardian diamonds, and so forth, does one? Wonder what Countess Violet would say about that? Ha!

Obviously, I'm a big fan of the sparklies–and Downton Abbey does jewelry just like I like it (and fashion, and dinner, and everything, come to think of it). If you're a fan, too, and want to learn to make your own Edwardian-style jewelry featuring filigree, beads, pearls, sparkling crystals, and more, check out our new eBook, Elegant Edwardian Jewelry: 12 Designs Inspired by England's Gilded Age.

P.S. If you're going to try your hand at making some Downton-inspired jewelry, check out our sister site Beading Daily's Edwardian jewelry blog hop.



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