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Goth Jewelry - Dark Crystals

Silver Ruby-Zoisite Cameo Pendant
Silver Ruby-Zoisite Cameo Pendant

The term "goth" or "gothic" has several meanings: Germanic people of the early Christian era (Goth/Gothic), an unrefined or barbaric person, or a follower of a particular style of music and fashion. Gothic rock is an alternative sub-genre which developed after punk in the 1970s. Religious motifs, especially Celtic crosses and ankh signs are popular gothic motifs. Similar to rock style, these may be worn as occult symbols. Pioneers of goth music include bands such as Joy Division, The Cure and Sioxsie and the Banshees. Gothic rock is characterized by darkness, introspection and romanticism. Along with the music scene came a goth subculture sometimes confused with "emo", which came later. Typical goth fashions are pale skin, kohl-lined eyes, dark clothing, hair and nail polish, and red or dark lips. The clothing could be seen as a mix of Victorian, Vampire movies and punk style. Colors favored by goths include deep red, electric blue, purple and deep green. Lace and velvet are popular fabrics when it comes to goth-style clothing.

Gothic style is not all about death and darkness, goths also embrace romanticism, particularly the 18th century art and literary movement, which focused on intense emotion, and includes the poetry of William Wordsworth, Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Works of fiction classed as "gothic" are novels such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Bram Stoker's Dracula. These merge horror with romanticism. Such works may be the inspiration for gothic style, which combines the medieval with romanticism and horror, using motifs such as bats, skulls and roses. In fact, rose motifs can be often seen in gothic jewelry, whether they are carved gemstones, enamel work or metal. These may be black, red or another color and are attractive when used as necklace pendants, earrings or in bracelets.

Silver Filigree Amethyst Cabochon Ring
Silver Filigree Amethyst Cabochon Ring

Filigreed silver designs are popular goth-style jewelry items. Filigree is intricate metalwork that is made by twisting gold or silver wire and soldering it, making it appear like lace. While filigreed jewelry has been made for over 2000 years, it became popular in Europe during the Romantic era; the period of the emergence of the "gothic novel". Filigree jewelry takes many forms, such as pendant earrings, rings and necklaces, where a central gemstone is surrounded by delicate metalwork.

Chokers, such as those worn by Queen Victoria are among the favorite gothic necklace styles. Chokers can be made from metal or may simply be a ribbon with a brooch attached at the front. A popular Victorian style is a ribbon choker with a cameo in the center, after the fashion of Queen Victoria. Mother-of-pearl and agate are materials often used for the carving of cameos. Alternatively, obsidian and ruby-zoisite are interesting and unique options for gemstone cameos. Cameos can be worn as brooches or pendants on chokers. Ribbon chokers may be made more durable and attractive by securing the ends into clasp fittings. Since chokers are close-fitting, the neck of the wearer should be measured before the length of the choker is decided. For those who do not like cameos, opal, rutile quartz or other interesting cabochons could be a modern interpretation of the style.

Black Rutile Quartz Brooch
Black Rutile Quartz Brooch

Since black is the usual goth color of choice, black metal is suitable for gothic-style jewelry settings. There is a choice of black metals, including black gold "alloys", which have a black surface layer, black rhodium or ruthenium plating, plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of amorphous carbon, patination and femstosecond laser treated black metal. The most affordable option is black rhodium-plated jewelry, but this is subject to wear and tear, and may need replating from time to time. When it comes to black gemstones, there are quite a few options. Jet was a popular gemstone during the Victorian era, when mourning jewelry was worn and was often carved into cameos and other shapes. However, this is not very durable and also not widely available nowadays. Some good examples of affordable black faceted gems are black tourmaline, black spinel and melanite. When it comes to cabochons, agate, black star sapphire, cat's eye scapolite, star garnet and jasper are suitable for black gemstone jewelry. With regard to black gemstone material that can be carved, black jade and onyx are possibilities.

While goths inhabit a certain style niche, it is not necessary to be considered a goth to enjoy the above jewelry. Goth-style jewelry can be an alternative embellishment to any outfit without engendering a particular stereotype. In fact, labels can divide, but jewelry can be appreciated for its intrinsic beauty, rather than be simply worn to be part of a particular subculture. Thus, those who are content to be themselves should wear the jewelry, rather than letting the jewelry wear them.

  • First Published: November-06-2015
  • Last Updated: November-06-2015
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