• Brooch, about 1855

    Sentimental brooch which incorporates a lock of hair of a loved one.The inclusion of black enamel around the hair indicates that the loved one was likely deceased."MBL" may be the initials of the deceased.Half mourning called for jewelry that was not flashy or showed too much shiny gold metal, so many pieces used in half mourning include dark stones or enamel.This was likely made simultaneously with the plaited hair jewelry popular in the 1850s and 1860s.

  • Jewelry Suite of Brooch and Earrings, about 1860

    This style can be referred to as bowknot jewelry, and was popular from 1850-1870.The three small jump rings at the bottom of each piece may have been used to suspend small ball drops.

  • Brooch and Earring Set, about 1870

    Coral was a popular material in jewelry making for many years.This particular piece incorporates coral with fairly inexpensive gold plated silver.Bigger brooches and long earrings were popular in the second half of the 19th century, until they fell out of favor because they could easily rip the lace collars and bodices that became popular in the 1880's.

  • Daguerreotype Brooch, about 1850

    This may have been used in mourning and may memorialize the gentleman depicted on the brooch.Earlier mourning brooches included watercolors of likenesses of the deceased but daguerreotypoes, our first real photographs, records the extraordinary image of the deceased.The bit of hair on the back of the brooch may be the hair of the gentleman depicted but this cannot be verified.The curator has seen few brooches set with photographs, either daguerreotypes orthe later tintypes; this is a rare surviv…

  • Scottish Pebble Brooch, about 1860

    Queen Victoria of Great Britain adored the Scottish countryside and all things Scottish; she dressed her sons in highland dress and vacationed at Balmoral, her castle in Scotland.Scottish pebble jewelry was made from native stones (supposedly) from Scotland such as agate, chalcedony, carnelian, and bloodstone. These opaque stones were often set into silver that was rendered in the shape of ancient Scottish jewelry forms.Some quartz stones are carved in the shape of thistles, also associated with…

  • Tortoise Shell and Pique Brooch, about 1865

    Tortoise shell was a much used material in small decorative accessories for many years.It is quite malleable when heated, and carefully chosen, the stock can have interesting color and mottling.In addition, it is easily carved and fine patterns can be created from it.Pique work infuses gold into the soft tortoiseshell, very much like inlay.Pique pose lays strips of gold in the surface and pique point, which this piece includes, has fine rods of gold embedded in it.Fine pique work was created in …

  • Brooch, about 1860

    This interesting brooch combines styles popular in the 1850s and 1860s, namely the bow know form with the dead gold metal (bright yellow metal that is produced without a sheen) and Etruscan filigree (delicate dots of gold that imitates Etruscan filigree decoration) that were popular primarily from the 1830s on.Etruscan filigree, really granulated drops of gold, was revived by Giulio Castellani of Britain who learned of the work from a scholar studying the ancients.He popularized the Etruscan rev…

  • Bogwood Brooch, about 1865

    Bog wood is petrified wood, usually oak or pine, found in Irish bogs. It was carved into trinkets and jewelry in the mid-late nineteenth century.Because of its association with Ireland the jewelry often includes Celtic or early Irish Christian references.Bog wood jewelry was shown at most of the exhibitions of the nineteenth century. This piece is part of a large collection given to the institution by Susan Stark of Lansing, MI.

  • Parian Brooch, about 1850

    It is possible that this was used in mourning as it is without sheen, is colorless and is a wreath, a symbol generally associated with mourning and everlasting life in the mid nineteenth century.Furthermore the forget-me-nots scattered throughout the piece are often found on mourning jewelry.A curator from the Bennington Museum in Vermont stated (1964) that this was likely to be a British piece based on the configuration of specifics of the flowers--perhaps Minton.Parian porcelain jewelry was ra…