Published in Citizens’ Companion,October 1, 2012
The Victorian Age was a time of evolution and invention, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of a new, middle class. Families suddenly found themselves able to afford some of the same luxuries as their “betters,” such as fine fabrics for their clothing, the ability to hire help for those tedious household chores and the money to purchase extravagant things such as jewelry. The Victorians voraciously consumed these goods and competition was keen. The age of, “keeping up with the Joneses,” was born.
Even with this newfound disposable income however, precious gems such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds remained beyond the reach of the average household. But where “necessity is the mother of invention,” the Victorians were not to be out-classed. Suitable, affordable substitutes were sought to fill the void for these coveted baubles.
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