In spite of all the prim and proper societal rules imposed upon them, even Victorian women craved a touch of feminine seduction in their jewelry pieces. Discover how en tremblent antique pins like this one allowed them to subtly achieve that.
From the French meaning “to tremble,” en tremblent Victorian jewelry like this Edwardian antique pin that is shaped like a bow was designed to tremble when the wearer of it moved. For Victorian era women, whose bodies were sheathed from neck to toe in clothing, most en tremblent pieces were brooches. That way, they could be pinned atop proper ladies’ many layers at the breast to generate movement as they breathed.
To create this subtle motion, tiny springs were built into the Victorian jewelry piece, with diamonds making a frequent appearance. A diamond’s ability to capture light from all angles added to the trembling movement effect.
A technique almost exclusive to the 18th and 19th centuries, en tremblent is rarely seen outside of the antique pins of the Victorian jewelry era. In a 2004 episode, PBS’s popular “Antiques Roadshow” appraised an 1810s Diamond Pin En Tremblant at $25,000 to $35,000. Because the springs in these antique pins are so delicate, finding one whose en tremblent elements still move as intended, like the ribbon steamers of this bow-shaped antique pin, adds significantly to its value.