Here is a type of jewelry that is loaded with surprises. When different gemstones are arranged to spell out a word or a message, it becomes a beautiful way to make the silent stones speak. The first letter of their name is used as an alphabet to form a word or phrase which is then set in a jewelry to convey a message of love and romance. In all probability the concept first came to light in France in the 1700s when it was introduced by the French jeweler Jean-Baptiste Mellerio. Post an article that was published by Etienne de Jouy in the 1811 edition of Gazette de France, the spotlight on it intensified and led to widespread popularity in Georgian England in the 1820’s and 1830’s. Napoleon, who was bewitched with the concept is said to have made many famous acrostic jewelry pieces for himself, for his first and second wife and to commemorate many events.
Acrostic jewelry makes for a colorful combination. The concept bloomed in the form of bracelets, rings, earrings and brooches, rings being the most popular conveyor of the acrostic message. In a ring or brooch a word or two could be spelled out, but longer phrases were spelled out in bracelets and even necklaces. Long names or phrases were occasionally set in a brooch meant for a woman. Acrostic jewelries were worn by both men and women.
In the past, this language of gemstone was very popular mainly for sentimental reasons. They were also about secrecy, games of the heart, amusements, romance, etc.Romantic words like “dear”, “friend”, “dearest”, “love”, “beloved”, “amour” were very popular. The letters ‘d’, ‘e’, ‘a’, ‘r’, in the word “dear” is spelled out with such popular gemstones as diamond, emerald, amethyst and ruby. Love was spelled out with the gemstones lapis lazuli, opal, variscite, emerald. Most of the acrostic jewelries made in the past spelled out the names of the loved ones and were also used to spell birthdays and secret messages. There were, however, many instances when it was used to register political protest.
The popularity of acrostic jewelry continued throughout the Victorian era and the Edwardian eras. Back in the Victorian era, engagement rings with stones that spelled out the word “regards” and “dearest” were often exchanged. They were made to convey a deeper and romantic meaning and were given to spouses, lovers and family members. “Souvenir” (Remembrance or Recollection) and “Amitie” (Friendship) were the two common words that were very popular in France and were spelled out using the French names of the stones.
If you wish to know what gemstones can be made to represent a certain letter, the following will be of immense help to you:
A – amethyst, aquamarine, agate, alexandrite, amber, ametrine, apatite, aventurine
B- benitoite, bixbite, black opal, boulder opal, beryl
C- citrine, carnelian, chrysoprase, coral, chalcedony, chrome diopside, chrysoberyl
D- diamond, demantoid garnet, diopside, dioptase
F- fluorite, faustite
G- garnet, goshenite, girasol
H- hessonite garnet, hematite, hawk's-eye, heliodor, hiddenite, hauyne, heliotrope
I- indicolite, iolite
J- jasper, jade, jet
K- kyanite, kunzite
L- lapis lazuli, labradorite, lepidolite, larimar
M- moonstone, morganite, malachite, magnesite, moukaite
O- opal, onyx
P- pearl, peridot, pyrite, pietersite, prasiolite, prehnite
R- ruby, rose quartz, rhodochrosite, rubellite
S- spinel, sapphire, sunstone, South Sea pearl, smoky quartz, sodalite
T- tourmaline, tanzanite, topaz, turquoise, tiger's-eye, Tahitian pearl, tsavorite
V- variscite, vessonite, vesuvianite, verdite, vandanite
W- watermelon tourmaline
X- xenotime, xonotlite (a new favorite!)
Y- yttrium fluorite, YAG, yuksporite
Z- zircon, zoisite, zebra stone