Steampunk is on the rise and is starting to enter mainstream culture with TV shows and movies giving us a steampunk feel. There are steampunk authors, such as Gail Carriger , steampunk bands, such as Abney Park, there are events, museums and even Cirque du Soli is getting in on the act with their show KURIOS (which by the way looks amazing). Then, of course, there is the fashion…and with fashion there is jewellery.
The problem with steampunk is that people cannot always agree on what exactly it should be. For those of you that what to know, it is kind of a what if the Victorians had modern technology style items, but all running on steam or other things, throw in time machines and airships and you have just dipped your toe into the genre. I will go into Steampunk in a little more depth in the geek part of this blog at a later point, but for now let’s just focus on the jewellery.
Personally I feel that like a lot of genres there is a lot fluidity in defining it, I have seen so many versions, Wild West steampunk, Far East Steampunk, and all are fantastic. Therefore if you wish to dress steampunk style then your own personal interpretation is just as valid. If you want to add cogs why not, adding keys and octopuses of course you can, wear a corset, don’t wear a corset, . For a lot of steampunk jewellery designers the watch seems to be a theme. The innards of a watch are combined with wings, or other things to create a beautiful piece, that is eye catching and obviously steampunk.
Designers such as @zomb13bait on Instagram and ETSY combine watch pieces to create stunning pendants. Others have watch innards stuck to dragonflies and butterflies, it always looks stunning, but it has been done and, as much as I love it, there is no need for me to do it.
Finding my steampunk style was an easy thing for me, I like chains, and dangles, combining these with charms and interesting centrepieces and there we go. It didn’t hurt that there is a joke that ‘Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown.’ Combining images from the goth aesthetic and the steampunk aesthetic has created some of my favourite pieces.
I do love to add cogs to things, they make good connectors, they are fun to look at and they liven a piece up. Some times when I add cogs things modernize a little, and they pull in a more industrial look.
Charms, beads, watch parts and chain are not the only thing to make steampunk jewellery with. There are some very talented jewellery designers out there who work with polymer clay @_alexjewelry_ (Instagram polymer clay artist) creates amazing octopuses, that definitely bring out that steampunk feel.
Another great artist is Vikinkreatif jewelry from the Ukraine, they create the most beautiful steampunk wirework animals, and a variety of other work that crosses the boundries again. Using animals in Steampunk jewellery is a real hail back to the Victorian era obsession with animals in jewelry, hummingbird heads were used, snakes with gemstone eyes were popular, beetle wings were used in textiles off in exotic lands like India and were making their way into the fashions of the empire, it was a fun time for jewellery in all its forms.
Cameos are also a major part of steampunk jewellery, originally carved out of precious or semi-precious gemstones or shells, they are now available in a huge variety of resin based designs, allowing steampunks to play with original cameo design and make it their own, once more octopuses enter into it, skulls and ghostly ladies, as well as the classic cameo design feature in a lot of steampunk work. ForTheCrossJewelry is a great example of cameos being used in this style.
Steampunk styles are great to play with, pull in the practical, experiment and mix up the traditional, but most of all have fun and remember that this is style that is versatile and flexible.