A favorite pastime of mine is spotting jewelry in paintings. Whether it be an Elizabethan dandy’s multiple strings of pearls or a Victorian woman’s mourning jewels, these pieces are a fascinating glimpse into what was most prized in a particular culture or period of time.
It was during the Georgian era that the art form of eye miniatures took off among the wealthy. The fad for wearing a tiny painting of your mystery lover’s eye on a ring or pendant was started by who else but George IV, who first had one painted for his lover, the scandalously Catholic and twice-widowed Maria Fitzherbert.
Today, designers are creating scandal-free—but no less beautiful—jewelry incorporating miniature paintings once again. The gems featured here are quite literally wearable masterpieces.