hair brooch

Displayed on the following pages are some more unusual items of jewellery including fine and rare examples of Silesian wire- and Berlin ironwork. Good quality pieces of this genre are difficult to find today and are highly prized by specialist collectors.

The creation of Silesian woven wire jewellery in the late 18th century was centred in Gleiwitz (now Gliwitze in Poland). From around 1804 production of cast iron pieces commenced in Berlin and the term Berlin ironwork became applied to both styles. Cast pieces were hand finished and black lacquer applied to prevent oxidation. Some were highlighted to simulate gold.

The fashion for iron jewellery in Prussia was largely driven by patriotism. State coffers had been drained to fund the ongoing Napoleonic Wars and ladies were encouraged to donate their gold jewellery to the State in exchange for iron pieces, many of which bore the words "Gold gab ich fur Eisen" (I gave gold for iron). For the wearer it represented a badge of loyalty to the State and was worn with pride.


Next Page arrow right