Gold, glitz and history on show in the State of Victoria gold jewellery collection

Fifteen highlighted pieces of newly acquired goldfield jewellery are on display in a glittery pop-up exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.
close-up of gold miner's brooch held by blue-gloved hands and woman's eyes peering through.

The gold fever that transformed cities and towns across Victoria from the 1850s to 1900, produced some very particular kinds of jewellery – not all of it “tasteful” or beautiful, and much of it in stark contrast to the jewellery favoured by the squattocracy and colonial elite of the time. But that makes it even more interesting and valuable in terms of the stories it tells.

From golden teaspoons to literal nuggets of gold embedded in bracelets, and giant brooches featuring miniature diggers at work in mines, much of this bling was about showing off good luck and hard labour.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She was previously a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk