In the Victorian era, it was a sign of status and high society to be seen with a pair of lorgnette glasses. Used for the theater and opera, as well as for reading, wearing these tiny spectacles showed that you were sophisticated and well-educated. The early “quizzing glasses” were reserved only for gentleman and dandies, but in the 18th century, lorgnette glasses—more feminine and ornate—were invented and women began using them as fashionable accessories.
This pair of lorgnette glasses have a charming, elegant design. Though they are of the Victorian era, they have delicate Rococo-esque details. The handle has a beautiful decorative element composed of a Classical Greek-inspired corinthian column, but with the florid motifs of Rococo jewelry. They open with spring action, and their precision-oriented mechanical design allows them to fold back up with graceful motion.
Circa 1880’s or 1890’s, these lorgnettes, when folded, look great on a chain or clipped into a dog clasp, and, when unfolded, still function as reading glasses. Wearing them as a playful pendant on your next trip to the theater or opera could make a lovely homage to the long and rich history of going out to the theater to see and be seen.
Folded, they are 1 and 5/8 inches by 3 inches. Open, the frames are 4 inches across, and the glasses are 5 inches across including the handle. They weigh 19.42 grams.
The lorgnettes are made of 14k gold, and the bridge of the frame is marked with “14k”.