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What Is Steampunk?


Steampunk started out as as another form of science fiction literature. Funnily enough, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, the men credited with beginning science fiction in the first place, would have been classified as steampunk writers if they were to publish their books today. In writing, steampunk is really all about integrating machinery, largely steam powered and from the industrial revolution, with the setting and attitudes of the 19th century. Usually these settings are in Victorian England or in the Wild West. And creativity abounds, either taking place in a post apocalyptic world, as an alternate history where steam's power was advanced, or in a world of the author's own making. Most of these stories can be classified as dystopian fiction, where the world is terribly unpleasant and the balance of power is incorrect or non-existent. There is very little limit to the creativity one can take with the concept, which is part of what makes it so popular.


The term steampunk didn't even exist until the 1980's, when K. W. Jeter used it in a letter to a magazine when trying to describe the work of himself and his contemporaries, to set them apart from cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is a different style, focusing on the future full of advanced science in a dystopian world. Jeter and other authors of his time, such as Tim Powers and James Blaylock, used the word to describe their works, and now that the genre has grown it is retroactively used to describe works such as Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake and The Warlord of the Air by Micheal Moorcock.


From literature, it has extended into movies, shows and various other forms of media, which had a big effect in popularizing the style. It has reached children's shows and movies, such as the works of Hayao Miyazaki, with Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Sky both adopting the mechanical aspects of steampunk and working them into older settings. Both movies incorporate flying machines and steam-powered contraptions that are very popular in original steampunk novels. From children's movies it steps up to more adult movies, such as Robert Downey Jr.s' adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and Disney's design for the submarine in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as well as for the ride modeled after the movie's release in one of the Disney parks.

One of the most recent references to steampunk in popular culture is the appearance of a steampunk- based club in the popular police show Castle, which included groups of actual steampunk fans in the background as extras instead of just replacing them with actors in costumes.

The style of Steampunk art and design even reaches out into video games, one popular example being Bioshock Infinite and some weapon and design aspects of the popular internet game World of Warcraft, specifically in the gnome race. Steampunk if very popular throughout a lot of games as a style of weapon design, though some games, such as Myst, take it farther into a world full of steam-powered machinery rather than magic or electricity.


Steampunk is a form of Neo-Victorian fashion. Often it brings things forward from that era, large flowing dresses, hats, pocket watches and even possibly lesser known things, like masks. Steampunk adds its own flare in that fashion pulled forward is altered and frequently remade with materials of the industrial age, such as polished brass, iron, wood, and leather. Items made for the steampunk genre are often made in the same way that they would have been made all that time ago, almost exclusively by hand, which adds a uniqueness to each piece.


It can be simply defined as modern technologies with the design aesthetic and materials of an older age. This leads to steampunk watches with the reliability of the new technology but the handmade craftsmanship and exposed gears of the old look.
Or it can take the direction of a plague doctor's intimidating beaked mask brought forward in time and modernized with leather and studs to become a steampunk mask. Masks can also reach into the dystopian nature of the novels that inspire them, bringing into play gas masks or respirators that might be needed in a dystopian or a post-apocalyptic world.

Here at Steampunk Artifacts, we have a wide selection of jewelry, timepieces, headwear and more. We aim to be your number one stop online for all your retro, hipster and steampunk jewelry needs. We are out to cater to those who aren't out looking for mainstream, but want pieces that make a statement. Our products are good for cosplay and everyday wear, and feature some of the most iconic and recognizable styles brought in by, what might be, the most influential and popular science fiction genre.


No matter what you're looking for, we're sure to have just what you need. Maybe it's that perfect piece to finish your costume for a convention or party that you're after. Or maybe, you're out to make a statement daily with something unique and handcrafted, to put your style just an edge above the rest, which you can be assured that our products will do. Maybe you're after a piece that fits smoothly into an existing lifestyle, or maybe, you need something new and interesting to mix with what you have, we've got all of the above, and maybe more than you'll expect to find. We offer a wide selection of watches, whether your preference is to wear it on your wrist or to tuck it in your pocket like a Victorian gentleman. We have a selection of eyeglasses and goggles that will bring out the best of all worlds, as well as detailed, gorgeous jewelry that will compliment almost any look.


A lot of work goes into every single product we make, and we stand by the quality of every product you order. If you aren't happy with anything you purchase from us, we have a 14 day return policy from the day of purchase.
Join us and we will all see how far steam power will take us!