"Steampunk?? Whats steampunk?" I have heard more than a few times by friends, acquaintances and customers when asking about some of my jewelry.
It's not really an easy question to answer, like trying to answer "whats rock music". There are a number of different but similiar answers about what Steampunk is.
Steampunk mixes antiquated technology, science, Victoriana, science fiction and fantasy. According to Wikipedia, Steampunk is defined as: "The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne
Brass Goggles has a list of different genres of Steampunks that is pretty detailed. Watch the movie "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", the tv show "Fire Fly" or "Wild Wild West" and you'll see some excellent examples. For me: I love the aesthetic & inventor/diy aspects of steampunk. I reference my own interests in scientific studies, alchemy, time travel, inventors & explorers, inner workings, archaeology, mechanics, copper & brass, quantum physics, parapsychology and mad scientists when I want to create something with a steampunk flavor.