Happy 175th Anniversary to Queen Victoria and her beloved Prince Albert. They were married on this day in 1840, and their time together influenced the trends of generations. To celebrate, let’s look back on their big day. It should come as no surprise that their courtship and wedding ceremony shaped the nuptial institution as we know it.
Victoria received one of the first engagement rings. A coiled snake was fashioned in gold with an emerald, her birthstone, set into the head. The snake symbolized eternal love, and became a proliferate motif in Victorian era jewelry representing wisdom and fidelity. Birthstone-set rings became a popular choice for engagement jewelry until the late 19th century.
The new queen chose a white dress for her marriage ceremony. Some considered this a conservative choice, as bright colored wedding gowns were the order of the day. White was also worn as a color of mourning at the time, adding to the confusion over her decision. However, less than a decade later, a fashionable bride could wear no other color than pristine white.
In the image to the right, Victoria is painted wearing the "Albert" brooch, which features an oblong mixed cut sapphire of an estimated 20-30cts, surrounded by brilliant cut diamonds. It remains among the Crown Jewels to this day.
Victoria gifted each of her 12 train-bearers, or bridesmaids, a turquoise brooch in the shape of an eagle, additionally decorated with diamonds, rubies and pearls.
Blue was the color of loyalty and faithfulness, which is why the good luck rhyme “Something old, something new…” says a bride is should carry a “something blue” with her. It makes sense that, in this age of romance and sentiment, that a bride should offer the same to her attendants.