What is Steampunk?


Steampunk Gems - What is Steampunk?
H.G. Wells The Time Machine

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy. When looking for a definition of Steampunk, it is described as:

A genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

A style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

The term “Steampunk” originates from the late 80s, although there were many works of Steampunk fiction created much earlier than the 1980s. It was coined in 1987 by science fiction author K.W. Jeter, who was trying to find a general term for works by Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates, 1983), James Blaylock (Homunculus, 1986), and himself (Morlock Night, 1979 & Infernal Devices, 1987)—all of which took place in a 19th-century (mostly Victorian) setting and imitated conventions of such actual Victorian speculative fiction as H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

The Steampunk genre incorporates technology and aesthetic designs, inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Technology like the fictional machines as found in the works of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and modern authors as Philip Pullman, Stephen Hunt and China Miéville, and other alternative history-style technology examples, e.g. steam cannons, lighter-than-air-airships, analogue computers, and machines working on clockworks, wind and waterpower, are characteristic features of Steampunk. It is often recognized by anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people during the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era’s perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art.

Steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or the American Wild West, in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power, although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre. It may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of Fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history or other branches of speculative fiction, thus making it kind of a hybrid genre. Besides, Steampunk also refers to any of the artistic styles, clothing fashions or subcultures that have developed from the aesthetics of Steampunk fiction, Victorian-era fiction, art nouveau design, and films from the mid-20th century. Aspects of Steampunk design emphasize a balance between form and function, although Steampunk fashion has no set guidelines but tends to synthesize modern styles with influences from the Victorian era. Steampunk outfits often have accents with several technological and “period” accessories, such as timepieces, flying/driving goggles, ray guns, et cetera. One of the most significant contributions in Steampunk is the way it mixes digital media with traditional handmade art forms.

Various modern utilitarian objects have been modified by individual artisans into pseudo-Victorian mechanical Steampunk style and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as
Steampunk. Steampunk fashion designer Kate Lambert, known as “Kato”, launched the first steampunk clothing company in 2005, mixing Victorian and post-apocalyptic influences. She certainly stirred up the fashion industry with this, for in 2013 IBM predicted that ” …’steampunk,’ a subgenre inspired by the clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society, will be a major trend to bubble up and take hold of the retail industry.”, based on analysis of more than half a million public posts on message boards, blogs, social media sites and news sources. (Dahncke, Pasha Ray. “IBM Social Sentiment Index Predicts New Retail Trend in the Making” (Press release). IBM. Retrieved 18 February 2013.) They were right: well-known fashion lines such as Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and others had already been introducing Steampunk styles on the fashion runways.

In 2006 the first neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention took place, which was covered by MTV and The New York Times. Since that first “SalonCon” a number of popular Steampunk conventions and events arose around the world. Some festivals have organised events or a “Steampunk Day”, while others just support an open environment for wearing Steampunk attire.

In recentSteampunk Gems Gallery image for Steampunk Necklaces years Steampunk is increasing in its popularity and there is a growing movement of people who would like to establish Steampunk as a culture and lifestyle. That is one of the reasons, why I decided to make my Steampunk jewellery more accessible for all people. In my opinion it is fantastic to be able to wear certain accessories with a Steampunk character on your daily attire, whether that is a complete “authentic” Steampunk outfit or on ordinary clothes as you go to work, to school or do whatever it is you do during the day. Thus I decided to design accessories as bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches and hair clips that are just that little bit different with a special Steampunk hint, and making use of cogs, gears and other clock parts and sticking to colours that fit with the Steampunk genre, like ancient copper, ancient bronze, ancient silver, golden and rose tints.

For more information about Steampunk I would like to refer you to e.g.:

(English) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

(Dutch) https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk



Gwendolyne Blaney – November 2017

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steampunk-punks in star citizen


Since a few years my husband has been a great supporter and active player of the game Star Citizen. This amazing game is still under development by the subsidiary/division Roberts Space Industries (RSI) of Cloud Imperium Games and published by Cloud Imperium Games Corporation for Microsoft Windows. The development of the game started in 2011, led by director Chris Roberts, and is mostly financed from a large crowd funding campaign. Roberts Space Industries is also present in the virtual world of Star Citizen as the creator of the quantum drive that kick started humanity’s expansion into space. They offer a wide range of spaceships, from everything you need for basic interstellar travel up to deep exploration to the outer edges of the galaxy. Star Citizen is truly a one of a kind: a multiplayer, space trading and combat game with an ever expanding universe to roam in freely by the game player.

Where most virtual games follow clear story lines and have obvious beginnings and endings to their stories, this game (for PC only) is a true open world. There is no beginning or an ending. Time goes on whether you are online or offline and the player create their own story within “The Verse”. The universe keeps expanding with the continuous development of the game by the various departments of Roberts Space Industries and new features are added every time. It might be the closest encounter with the universe, however virtual, as one can ever get.

Star Citizen

One day, when my husband got an email of RSI with the statement he had achieved the status of “Concierge” within Star Citizen, he came to the realization how much time and money (!) had gone into the game he so loves. A bit uneasy with these findings, he admitted to me that he might have put more money into the game that he had realized at first. Although it was a bit of a shock, I know that hobbies can come with some costs and we agreed that from now on he would think before spending any more. While we were talking about this and the fact it made him feel quite guilty, my husband wondered how many more people playing Star Citizen felt some kind of guilt about their purchases for this game. My immediate response was: “If all the people who feel guilty about the money they put into this great game for new spaceships would buy a piece of my handcrafted collection of Steampunk jewellery for their partner, this would be awesome for me and my business.”

Although it was meant as a loose and funny remark, my husband said straight away that my comment was not that weird at all. He showed me how my unique and handmade accessories actually fit quite well with the Star Citizen universe. For one, people who achieve the status of Concierge receive a monocle and a top hat as a gift for their in-world avatar from RSI. Buy a nice long coat in-game with that, and a handsome Steampunk avatar is the result (not while flying your space craft, of course, unless you want to be killed by lack of oxygen). Secondly, many of the places in Star Citizen (space ports, cities on various planets, etc.) have all kinds of Steampunk features showing steaming pipes, mechanic surroundings, copper and brown coloured environments combined with cyberpunk characteristics.

steampunk-punks in star citizen
Star Citizen

So the idea of buying a beautiful and unique Steampunk gift to a partner in real life that fits the virtual space hobby of a Star Citizen player, definitely is not so farfetched and strange at all. There is certainly a link between both worlds and while treating yourself with a new spaceship, you could maybe make two people happy in two different ways: a special and unique new spaceship for you and a pretty and extraordinary piece of jewellery as a gift for your partner!

For more information on Star Citizen, have a look at my husband’s site: www.steampunk-punks.com

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Gwendolyne of Gwendolyne's Steampunk Gems for unique gifts

Steampunk Jewellery and me . . . .

Steampunk jewellery and me. . . . .  where do I begin, oh yes, since my earliest childhood, I (Gwendolyne Blaney) have had a great love for Fantasy, Goth and Steampunk. Steampunk Jewellery and me

This showed throughh the books I love to read, the clothes I love to wear and the sort jewellery I love to collect. For instance, when I was a teenager, I only had the 4 posters of Alfons Mucha’s “The Times of Day” on my bedroom wall instead of the popular actors and singers most teenagers probably decorated their rooms with.

Some time ago, while I was using some clock parts designing some necklaces, one of my favourite pastimes, I discovered how much I liked creating jewellery with a Steampunk character. I got so passionate about making these Steampunk Gems, that within no time I had designed and created over a 100 pendants, earrings, hair clips, and bracelets, using among others little cogs and wheels, tiny screws and other clock parts. What an awesome hobby!

Friends, acquaintances, but also strangers in the street, were interested in my unique handcrafted Steampunk necklaces that I was wearing and asked if I had any that were for sale. All of those people, who genuinely loved my work, had no specific interest in Steampunk or even knew what it was! Thus the thought of making my hobby into my work by creating my own little web shop arose, so I could make more people happy with the Steampunk jewellery I make. With the technical knowledge, skills and help of my dear husband, John Blaney, this web shop was created.

I am of the opinion, that Steampunk does not only fit the role playing games industry, Fantasy and Steampunk events or Carnival, but that elegant Steampunk jewellery can be worn by anyone at any time. All the jewellery I make are my own designs and creations. Besides, all products are handcrafted and unique. Although some products may look alike, for instance because of variations in colour, most of them are still one of a kind. Therefore I decided to give the Steampunk gems their own name and number. If there are more of a certain item then this will be mentioned with the product on the site.

The Steampunk accessories are made with vulnerable small parts and have to be handled with care. As with most jewellery, my jewellery is not suitable for young children because of its small parts. It may happen that (part of) the jewellery shows some discoloration because of the reaction of the PH value of the human skin with the materials of the jewellery parts used. This is different for every person and unfortunately, I cannot do anything about that.

Besides the categories with Steampunk products, there is also a non-Steampunk category. Here you will find some stylish products that I handcrafted myself and that is for sale, but that does not have a distinguished Steampunk character.

My products can only be ordered online. Your order will be sent to you once your payment has been received on the account. Prices on the web shop are excluding VAT and exclusive of postal charges. The VAT will be shown before you pay on the check-out page as well as the delivery charges. Special offers are being made visible on the website and are of a temporary nature.

For questions or specific requests concerning my Steampunk jewellery you can send an email to: info@steampunkgems.net. I will try to contact you as soon as possible with an answer. Or you can give us a ring at this mobile number from Monday to Friday in between 10:00-17:00 hrs CET: 0031 6192 04491. Obviously, during my holidays I cannot answer emails or phone calls, but I will try to get back to you as soon as possible when work starts again.

There is also a Facebook page, an Instagram account and a Twitter page for Steampunk Gems. Feel free to take a look. I hope you will appreciate my little Steampunk gems. I will add some new jewellery to the shop every other month at least.

For more detailed information about GSG Steampunk Gems, products and prices, delivery and postal services, privacy policy, et cetera, you can read the Terms & Conditions.

Gwendolyne Blaney – ©2017

Gwendolyne’s Steampunk Gems (GSG) is registered at the Chamber of Commerce in The Netherlands with registration number: 70080992.

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How to find unique gifts?


How to find unique gifts?

One of the most difficult things that people might be looking for on the internet, in my opinion, is when searching for a specific product for you partner, your wife, your mother, someone special, but you do not know exactly what it is you want to give to them, except it has to be something different and unique. How to start finding that special gift? What words do you put in the search bar?

A possible way is to narrow down your search by filling in your question in the search bar, leaving a space behind it and putting in a minus sign in front of words of items or things you are definitely NOT looking for. However, this means that you will probably still end up with a zillion results, but not per se closer to what you wanted in the first place. Especially for very specific items or ideas that you yourself might still be unaware of, e.g. Steampunk jewellery and accessories. It is a difficult process to find your way through this maze of online shops. You can compare it with the High Street in a town, where all the big and well-known companies are much easier to find than that extraordinary cute shop with its unique and handcrafted products, tucked away down a little cobbled avenue just around the corner. Unless you know exactly where to look, you might just pass it without getting to see all of the little gems they keep.

This is how I like to see my online shops with special jewellery and accessories: www.steampunkgems.net and www.steampunkgems.co.uk. They are virtually tucked away beauties with special and beautiful handmade jewellery in a Steampunk style, not easy to find in a jungle full of online stores.

Maybe people might (still) be unaware of them, but once someone hits the right search phrase, a world of pretty steampunk gems opens up. Who knows, maybe that is how you found this page? Maybe you are looking for that extraordinary piece of jewellery, the perfect gift to give to a loved one or maybe even yourself? How wonderful would it be if you really found what you were actually looking for, even though you have only figured that out now?

Although I do not hold the answer to the difficulties of wading through the hundreds of pages with hidden unique products, I hope that I can make those who end up on my sites a little wiser on what they were looking for and happier about what they see here. I certainly hope, that the beautiful creations in my online shops can help you find that special present you didn’t know existed at first.

Whether you are taken by my jewellery or not, I am happy you found my site and took the time to read my blog on finding that unique gift you were looking for. It would be most appreciated if you would leave a short comment on how you discovered my site when searching for a nice gift or otherwise. Thank you so much.


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Steampunk Gems Steampunk City Jewellery


Literature, Films, Games, Music, Architecture and Art

The following lists contain a number of books, films, games and architectural structures that either have clear elements of or are based on Steampunk as a genre. Obviously there are plenty more to add in these categories, but here is a start…


  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870) by Jules Verne
  • The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells
  • The Anubis Gates (1983) by Tim Pow
    Steampunk in the Arts - Mainspring by Jay Lake
    Mainspring by Jay Lake


  • Infernal Devices (1987) by K.W. Jeter
  • The Difference Engine (1990) by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999) by Jess Nevins
  • Perdido Street Station (2000) by China Miéville
  • Mainspring (2007) by Jay Lake
  • Extraordinary Engines (2008) by Nick Gevers
  • Steampunk (2008) & Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (2010) by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
  • Boneshaker (2009) by Cherie Priest
  • Johannes Cabal the Detective (2010) by Jonathan L. Howard
  • The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (2011) by Mark Hodder
  • The Martian Ambassador (2011) by Alan K. Baker
  • The Executioner’s Heart (2013) by George Mann

Links for more ideas and information on Steampunk novels can be found on e.g.:


  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) a Technicolor adventure film, produced by Walt Disney through Walt Disney Production and adapted from Jules Verne’s 1870’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958) a Czechoslovak adventure film directed by Karel Zeman and distributed in the U.S.A. in 1961, based on several works by Jules Verne and primarily his 1896 novel “Facing the Flag”
  • The City of Lost Children (1995) by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  • Wild Wild West (1999) by Barry Sonnenfeld, written by S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock as an adaptation on the 1960s TV series The Wild Wild West.
  • Atlantis:The Lost Empire (2001) an animated action-adventure film by Walt Disney Feature Animation, written by Tab Murphy, directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, produced by Don Hahn
  • Treasure Planet (2002) animated film by Walt Disney Feature Animation, a science fiction adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel Treasure Island
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) by 20th Century Fox, directed by Stephen Norrington and based on the comic books series “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
  • Van Helsing (2004) by Stephen Sommers, a homage and attribute to the Universal Horror Monster films from the ‘30s and ‘40s
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) by Brad Silberling, an adaptation of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket
  • Steamboy (2004) a Japanese steampunk animation action film produced by Sunrise and directed and co-written by Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) a Japanese animated film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and based on the novel “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2005) a Japanese animated film by Seiji Mizushima and written by Sho Aikawa
  • The Prestige (2006) by Christopher Nolan based on Christopher Priest’s novel “The Prestige”
  • The Golden Compass (2007) by Chris Weitz and based on Philip Pullman’s first novel “Northern Lights” of the trilogy “His Dark Materials”
  • City of Ember (2008) directed by Gil Kenan and based on the 2003 novel “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau
  • 9 (2009) a computer-animated film by Shane Acker, written by Pamela Petter and produced by Jim Lemley, Tim Burton, Dana Ginsburg & Timur Bekmambetov
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009) by Guy Ritchie, based on the character “Sherlock Holmes” created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Hugo (2011) by Martin Scorsese based on Brian Selznick’s book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” (fun fact: one of my sister-in-laws was an extra
    Steampunk Films - A scene from the film Hugo
    A scene from the film Hugo

    in this film)

  • Going Postal (2010) by Terry Pratchett, Richard Kurti & Bev Doyle based on Terry Pratchett’s 33rd Discworld novel Going Postal
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov & Jim Lemley based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016) by Tim Burton and written by Jane Goldman, based on the 2011 novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs

Games for PC and consoles

  • The Chaos Engine (1993) a top-down run and gun video game developed by The Bitmap Brothers and published by Renegade Software
  • Myst (1993), Riven (1997) & Myst III: Exile (2001), graphic adventure puzzle video games produced by Cyan Worlds
  • Final Fantasy VI (1994) also known as Final Fantasy III is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Thief (1998-present) is a series of stealth video games, developed by Looking Glass Studios (1998-2000), Ion Storm (2004) and Eidos Montréal (2014-present) and published by Eidos Interactive (1998-2004) and Square Enix (2014-present)
  • Skies of Arcadia (2000) a role-playing video game developed by Overworks for the Dreamcast and published by Sega
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura (2001) a role-playing video game developed by Troika Games and published by Sierra Entertainment
  • Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (2003) a real-time strategy video game for the PC made by Big Huge Games and published by Microsoft
  • Fable II & III (2008 & 2010) an action role-playing open world video game developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios for Xbox 360
  • Machinarium (2009) a puzzle point-and-click adventure game developed by Amanita Design and released for various platforms
  • Stacking (2011) an adventure puzzle video game developed by Double Fine Productions and published by THQ, released for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 video game consoles
  • Anno 2070 (201
    Steampunk Games - Steam Hammer - Big Way Games
    Steam Hammer – Big Way Games
    1) a city-building and economic simulation game with real-time elements, developed by Related Designs and Blue Byte and published by Ubisoft
  • Alice: Madness Returns (2011) a psychological horror action-adventure platform video game developed by Spicy Horse and released by Electronic Arts for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Dishonored (2012) stealth action-adventure video game by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks
  • BioShock Infinite (2013) a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games
  • The Order: 1886 (2015) a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, released for the Playstation 4

Upcoming games for 2018 that have obvious elements of Steampunk are:

Air (Ascent Infinite Realm), by Bluehole and Kakaogames. More information on this game:


Steam Hammer, by Big Way Games. More info on this game:

http:// store.steampowered.com/app/530560/STEAM_HAMMER/

Steampunk in music

Steampunk has appeared in the work of musicians who are known to mix Victorian and modern elements in their music and performance style, like Abney Park and Vernian Process. Thomas Dolby is also considered as one of the early pioneers of retro-futurist music. But Steampunk music is very broadly defined and it has also appeared in the works of musicians who do not specifica

Steampunk in Music - Abney Park
Abney Park

lly identify as Steampunk, e.g. the music video “The Ballad of Mona Lisa” by Panic! At the Disco has a distinct Victorian Steampunk theme. Throughout the band’s 2011 album “Vices and Virtues” this theme continues. The album “Clockwork Angels” (2012) by progressive rock band Rush contains lyrics, themes, and imagery based around Steampunk.

Here is a link to a webpage where you can find a list of bands which are considered Steampunk bands:


Steampunk in architecture, art and design

There are several architectural buildings and artistic visualisations of Steampunk that can be found around the world. Next to the design of the submarine the Nautilus, named after the submarine from Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which can be found in Six Flags Magic Mountain and the Disney Parks, there are even bigger projects that are to be found in more daily settings than a theme park.

Belgian artist François Schuiten redesigned the Paris Metro station at Arts et Métiers in Steampunk style in 1994, to honour the works of Jules Verne. The station is reminiscent of a submarine, sheathed in brass with giant cogs in the ceiling and portholes you can see beautiful scenes through.

Founding member, Sean Orlando, of the artist group Kinetic Steam Works created a Steampunk Tree House that is now permanently installed at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware.

Shannon O’Hare designed a three-story, self-propelled mobile art vehicle that resembles a Victorian house on wheels, called “The Neverwas Haul”. It was built in 2006 and can now be seen at Obtainium Works, an art car factory in Vallejo, California, U.S.A.

Steampunk in Architecture and Art – Steampunk HQ in Oamaru, New Zealand

In November 2010 Damien McNamara opened “The Libratory Steampunk Art Gallery” in Oamaru, New Zealand. A year later a more permanently gallery, “Steampunk HQ”, was opened in the former Meeks Grain Elevator Building across the road from The Woolstore. Now it is a famous tourist attraction for Oamaru.

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