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Steampunk jewelry is designed to reflect the culture and fashions of the steampunk subculture. Like other non-mainstream movements, steampunk places great importance on the value of beauty that reflects unusual or antiquated ideals. The jewelry is often bold and aggressive in appearance, but usually attempts to retain at least an echo of femininity.
While steampunk has been an active subsection of punk society for some time, it has only been since the early 2000s that it has become more well known. This surge in popularity may be due to a growing dissatisfaction among the youth with other, more prominent underground movements, such as goth and punk. Steampunk arose out of the ashes of the goth, punk and industrial movements.
Steampunk jewelry seeks to reflect strength while still appearing feminine and intelligent. The steampunk culture takes its cues from the Victorian era, and speculates on how our world would be different if steam power had become the driving force behind our culture. Often fantastical and containing elements of science fiction, authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are important influences within steampunk and its fashions. As such, steampunk jewelry often has a salvaged, dark appearance.
Steampunk has a bit of an obsession with time. As such, watches of all types, including wristwatches and pocketwatches, are popular. In fact, clock parts are often used in the construction of individual pieces of steampunk jewelry. Gears and watch hands are used to decorate larger pieces. Old-fashioned keys are also very popular, as are bits of antique cast-offs, such as pill cases, thread cutters and tiny knives.
Although it does exist, you will rarely find colors such as gold or silver in steampunk jewelry. In order to reflect an antique feel, steampunk avoids the use if these bright, new colors. Instead, favored colors are brass, bronze, copper and dark silvers such as gunmetal, brushed aluminum and titanium. Black and white are not popular; ecru, rich browns and shades of gray are much more common.
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