Want to send a secret message to your beloved using gemstones? Then you'll need to know about acrostic jewelry. Acrostic jewelry is the spelling of a word by using the first letter of each gemstone. So an acrostic piece spelling the word "REGARD" looks like this.
This Victorian-era bracelet spells "REGARD" with gems: ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond. Photo courtesy of 1stdibsJean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850), jewelry designer to Marie Antoinette and the French court, is credited with inventing acrostic jewelry. Poetically called the "language of gemstones," acrostic jewelry reportedly enchanted Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned several pieces for family members.
"SOUVENIR" (remember or memory in French) is spelled out with gemstones in this antique French acrostic bracelet (circa 1860): sapphire, opal, uraine (probably uranite), vermeille (hessonite garnet), emerald, natrolite, iris quartz, ruby. Photo courtesy of S. J. Phillips Limited
In this antique French acrostic bracelet (circa 1860), the gems spell "SOUVENIR" which, in French, means remember or memory.
Acrostic jewelry gained popularity in Georgian England during the 1820s and 1830s and was in vogue throughout much of the Victorian era (1837-1901). "REGARD" and "DEAREST," two terms of endearment, were favorites given to spouses, family members, and lovers. Gems were also used to spell birthdays and private messages.
From top left to top right: ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond to spell "REGARD". Photo courtesy of The Three Graces Jewelry
The outer circle of gems in this ornate antique acrostic locket (circa 1820) is from the British Isles and spells "REGARD." The inner circle takes the shape of a pansy flower meaning "thinking of you" or "you are in my thoughts" (two rubies, two diamonds, emerald and turquoise center stone).
Acrostic jewelry is experiencing something of a revival. Jessica McCormack, Lulu Frost, and Chaumet are a few designers and design houses making acrostic pieces.
This four leaf clover by Cartier spells "DEAR." Clockwise from bottom left: diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby. Photo courtesy of 1stdibs
Erica Weiner is another jewelry designer making contemporary acrostic pieces. This ring spells "ADORE" from left to right: amethyst, diamond, opal, ruby, emerald. Photo courtesy of Erica Weiner Jewelry
Want to create your own piece of acrostic jewelry to give to a loved one? Here's one contemporary version of a gemstone acrostic alphabet.