25 January, 20:25

Scary and strange — Victorian jewelry made from hummingbird feathers

Scary and strange — Victorian jewelry made from hummingbird feathers
In the second half of the 19th century, the fashion world experienced a real boom, covering not only fabrics and cuts, but also accessories that became an integral part of a stylish look. One of the most frightening and captivating trends of the time was jewelry created from hummingbird feathers.

In the 1860s, hummingbirds, these little wonders of nature, became the focus of attention in the fashion world. Their tiny, brightly colored feathers have become a symbol of sophistication and exoticism. Due to their beauty, hummingbird feathers have become a desirable material for creating fashion jewelry.
One of the greatest jewelers of the time, Harry Emmanuel, brought amazing creations to the fashion world by using hummingbird feathers in his designs. In 1865, a visitor to his jewelry store described his wares as including “hummingbird heads in necklaces and earrings.”

Emmanuel gained popularity thanks to his unusual vision of fashion, creating works of art that attracted the attention of noble ladies with their sophistication and exoticism.
Taxidermists of the time showed their skill by skillfully creating stuffed hummingbirds and mounting them in jewelry according to the client's wishes. This allowed fashionistas to choose not only the style of decoration, but also the pose of the bird. Exclusivity and individuality have become important features of these jewelry.

The fashion for hummingbird feather jewelry dominated until the late 1870s. At the International Exhibition of 1872, such a symbiosis of the activities of jewelers and taxidermists was called “examples of beauty.” But as with many fashion trends, this style has given way to new trends.
With the growing popularity of hummingbird feather jewelry, the population of these birds and other exotic species began to decline sharply. Conservationists have expressed alarm over the threatened extinction of rare species. But only in 1921, a ban was introduced on the import of feathers from any birds, except African ostriches and common eiders. This was an important step towards nature conservation and the conservation of exotic species.

Today, hummingbird feather jewelry has become a collectible and antique, reminding us of a time when nature inspired fashion and when the value of beauty was linked to conservation of natural resources.

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