Winged heart opal brooch, Pre Raphaelite tiara (1900s) and William Morris’ illustration.
Opalescence is the optical property of a transparent or translucide material which gives it an aspect or a milky color with iridescent reflects like the opals. “Precious opals are translucent to transparent and are distinguished by a combination of milky to pearly opalescence and an attractive play of many colours. These colours flash and change as a stone is viewed from different directions and are caused by interference of light along minute cracks and other internal inhomogeneities.”
William Morris (1834-1896) was an artist in the Victorian Britain. He was a painter, textile designer, pattern designer, writer… He belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite movement (second generation). In 1887, he founded the Arts & Crafts exhibition society. Arts & Crafts could be considered both as the British equivalent and the precursor of the French and Belgium Art nouveau movement. The poet and writer John Ruskin was the philosophical chief ; he was fascinated by gothic medieval art. But William Morris was the leader of the movement.
In reaction to the detrimental effects of the industrialisation in Great Britain, William Morris and John Ruskin wanted to rehabilitate craftsmanship but also save and learn again traditional techniques. In their opinion, the artisan had to be involved in each step of the execution and the manufacture of the object. Moreover, an artisan had to live in a sain environment in order to thrive. The utopia of the movement influenced many countries of the world. Among artists who belonged to the Arts and crafts movement, there were Charles Robert Ashbee, Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane.