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Kate Gabrielle
Kate Gabrielle • 1 year ago

The secret history of 'lover's eyes' In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy British and European lovers exchanged “eye miniatures” — love tokens so clandestine that even now, in the majority of cases, it is impossible to identify their recipients or the people they depict. Experts believe that there are fewer than 1,000 “lover’s eyes” in existence today. Apparently, they were meant to be worn inside the lapel, near the heart.

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In the 18th and 19th centuries, wealthy European lovers exchanged ‘eye miniatures, love tokens', so clandestine that even now it is almost impossible to identify their recipients or the people they depict. They were meant to be worn inside the lapel, near the heart.

Lover’s Eyes Lover’s eyes are hand-painted portraits on ivory which were popular in England between the 1780s and 1830s. The history of this jewelry style is as juicy as the paintings are gorgeous. Since romantic love didn’t typically exist within the confines of a marriage at this point in history, affairs were pretty common. So how would you show your loyalty to your lover? By wearing a sentimental portrait of an unidentifiable part of their person, of course.

Lover's Eye Miniature

19th century French wooden glove mold

1830's lovers brooch...Ooh, mysterious. These were watercolor paintings set in brooches

Yup'ik Face Mask \\ late 19th century \\ Alaska \\ Wood, pigment \\ Collected in late 19th century by Bishop Farhout, MacKenzie River area

The history of Lover's Eye Jewellery: gold oval ring with white, blue and pink enamel, 1795.

Natural History at Selfridges - Eric Klarenbeek www.ericklarenbee... (see his eye jewelry project)