Make Victorian Jewelry for Gothic Glamour!

Fashion with Passion
My daughter, her friends, and many of my grown women friends have all read the popular gothic romance Twilight. I’ve been resisting because delving into the lives of a bunch of lovesick hormone-laden teen vampires sounded pretty silly; I’ve got a couple of those at home, anyway. But I thought I’d give the book a spin to find out what the hubbub is all about. Within the first few chapters I saw why teen girls like it, but I’m not sure I can stomach so much pubescent drama. What did fascinate me is how this book seemed to singlehandedly revive gothic romance literature. The ravenous interest in it spread so quickly that vampires popped out everywhere in fiction, television, music, and of course, fashion.

Vampire Couture
Since what happens in New York, Paris, and Milan eventually affects us as jewelry-makers, I thought I’d do a little research on what's being called Vampire Couture. Just about every cutting-edge fashion house has toyed with Vampire Couture. It’s a mix of Victorian, Gothic, and '80s punk styles, with a little bit of gore and a whole lot of sexiness thrown in. Not sure I’m ready to sign up for that complete package in my pieces, but there are definitely attractive parts. Here’s a quick list of elements you might like to experiment with when designing your next piece or adjusting your colorways and materials when following a pattern in a magazine like Beadwork.

Since gothic romance novels are informed by the Victorian era, colors worn during that time are perfect for vampire couture. Black, of course, since Queen Victoria was so permanently in mourning, but deep shades of red and purple were also appropriate for women of the day. I also came across lots of white in my surfing, which is totally uncharacteristic of the genre. Must be something to do with how gory blood looks on white fabric? (I know—creepy.)

Seed Bead

Charms and Metal
All styles of metal trinkets, especially those that have a romantic or supernatural bent, are used quite a bit in this type of jewelry. (Did you know Queen Victoria had quite a thing for charms and cameos, too?) Chain, buckles, snaps, and rivets also give the look a funky twist.


The glitter of crystals gives this look its flash. Use jet and the full range of dark reds, plus try out the moody dark indigo color, which I’m certain was created just for this trend. Also incorporate crystal pearl colors like Tahitian and burgundy for a rich look.


Semiprecious stones popular during the Victorian era are natural for this style. Dark-toned stones like onyx, garnet, hypersthene, amethyst, and blue gold stone are good choices.


So, are you ready for vampire couture?  Share your thirst for dark, deliciously romantic jewelry here on Beading Daily. Happy Halloween!  

Related Posts:


Beading Daily Blog
Erin Carey

About Erin Carey

  Erin Carey is the current Web Production Administrator for Interweave. She studied metalwork and communications before receiving her BA in Media Communications from Colorado State University in 2008. During college she worked for several newspapers doing freelance photography, then lived abroad in New Zealand for two years. A recent but avid beader, Erin currently lives in Colorado where she loves making jewelry, writing and traveling whenever she gets the chance.  

11 thoughts on “Make Victorian Jewelry for Gothic Glamour!

  1. Hi Jean,
    Loved this post. I’m a push over for color and coordinating color and time, location, emotion etc. I emailed my daughter about your post and mentioned your comment about all the white. Her take, and she qualified it by saying she may be reading too much into it being an English major( !), is that it represents thevirginal young woman being drawn in by the seductive vampire! How’s that for gothic romance?! She said but you’re right in saying red looks great against lots of white!!
    Happy Halloween.

  2. Hello Jean,

    everytime I receive beading daily’s messages and wish to react, I am surprised to be more or less the last one to comment. Maybe it is so today also, but it seems like nobody else except Maryanne has reacted. This reasures me a little, as I had the feeling that my necklace, Drakula’s kiss (which you can see here: didn’t have the success I hoped. Now I understand, or no, think that vampire fantasy might be a little taboo…

    I used various matte metallic and matte grey delica beads and ruby czech glass rounds and drops for my necklace, because I don’t like black so much…

  3. Taboo? Yeah, maybe. But Cath! That’s the coolest necklace ever. Everyone reading this blog should really go see Cath’s piece…it’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about, and it’s not gory or over-the-top Goth. It’s just plain pretty, but with an interesting inspiration. Well done!

  4. I hate to be negative, but why is Beading Daily becoming little more than an advertisement to sell books?

    It was pleasant to see today’s “issue” as it was newsy even though I doubt if I could ever go Victorian Gothic with my beading.

  5. I recently made a gothic choker and earring set made of all black metal. The chain is a black link, with black and white rhinestone dangles. The focal is a tassel made of black chains. The earrings are made of smaller black metal tassels, and use black ear wires. It will go perfectly with my black midevil dress for halloween! Hahahaha

  6. well girls i dont know alot about all of this goth stuff, but i was courious about cath’s Dracula’s kiss… WOW, that is so beautiful, i mean truely gorgeous!!! i am very impressed. thanks ladies for letting me be in the company of such talent.

  7. One not-so-quick comment on materials. While the above list is adequate it doesn’t even get much beyond the tip of the iceberg.

    A lot of modern Gothic/Vampire jewelry is mixed media. Ribbons and lace are used in conjunction with the cameos, beads, charms and chains. Raiding grandmother’s sewing stash can yield interesting prospects.

    Also, on color – one shouldn’t feel like they are restricted by color. While red, indigo, black and plum are the more popular colors, there are a lot of modern pieces that feature blues and greens. I have even seen a set that was black and hot pink! For the most part though, any deep versions of colors (midnight blue, forest green, etc.) can be used. The important thing is the style the colors are used in.

    A lot of Gothic/Vampire jewelry is choker or princess length, or a bib style that draws the eye from the neck to the cleavage. Drama is key to any piece from this genre. Without a bit of drama even the best-intentioned piece of jewelry will pale in comparison.

  8. Wow Cath! That necklace is fabulous! I love the two drops up top that mimic the “love kiss” Dracula makes, then the droplets scattered below as he pulls away. What a fantastic piece!

  9. I work in a bookstore which equates to vampire central. Jean, if you want something with less teenage drama try Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels (they’re also the basis for the HBO show TrueBlood). They are not too dark or scary, and full of laughs. I have noticed I’ve been working with more dark metals, smoky quartz, and red corral or crystal. Black and red is my favorite color combo, so this gothic/vampire trend is really working for me. The more I read the more inspired I become!

  10. Thanks Jean for the images. Victorian Gothic may not be fore everyone, but we can all take cues from the deep, rich colors and detailing of the ornament. Lately I have been inspired by vintage jewelry, and looking at anytime in history is always nice as a starting point, you can take it as far as you want! That’s the beauty of design.