But of course, as illustrated with Daphne and Simon, and Marina and George, obviously young men and women did take a liking to one another, and what better way to pay homage to this importance of looking through the intense amorous gaze of a Lover’s Eye?
What is so intriguing, and the beauty behind it’s potency, is that a Lover’s Eye jewel equally reveals nothing and everything. As really, only the wearer and the giver would know who it was beneath the Pearls, Diamonds or Paste. It would have been a huge tease to society at the time, and even today, hardly anything is known about who the person was or is. The language and symbolism of gems also played a heavy part in the interpretation of the jewel. If the eye was framed with Garnets, it was a sign of friendship, but if the eye was framed with Pearls it could be one mourning the loss of their lover, and of course, if the eye was surrounded by a halo of Diamonds, it would be to profess the person’s wealth. Considering that this society was so against public affection, it was probably quite brazen to display Lover’s Eye jewels in public.
Eye miniatures lost their romantic symbolism at the end of the Georgian period, and during Queen Victoria’s reign became more associated with familial love and friendship. It was believed that Queen Victoria commissioned many as gifts for her children, her family members and for visiting diplomats. That being said, the style was very much out of fashion by the end of the Victorian period, with painted miniatures itself being completely overtaken by early portrait photography. Nevertheless, the symbolic weight of Lover’s Eye jewels still remain, and it is the renewed interest and intrigue in these jewels today that is keeping them alive. Olivia Annabelle’s designs prolong their legacy, and next time you wear an Olivia Annabelle dress, you will instantly feel a connection with this extraordinary historic motif!
If you’d like to learn more about antique jewellery head over to Lillicoco for exquisite pieces!