• 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.

  • Necklace and Earrings, about 1840-1875

    While amethyst is not considered a particularly rare or desirable stone today (it is a quartz and rather soft) it was much prized in the nineteenth century.Until the late nineteenth century, when Brazilian deposits of amethyst were found, amethysts were considered important stones in expensive jewelry.This is an interesting half set, as the necklace has the style and delicacy of the 1840s, but the earrings resemble those popular in the 1870s.Research has revealed that the business stamped on the…

  • Earrings, about 1870

    This pair of earrings is primarily Egyptian in form and decoration. However, it does include some aspects of otherhistorical styles such as the pendant amphora.One might also offer that the knife edge work is also seen in some Greek and Roman revival jewelry.Egyptian motifs were particularly popular in Western jewelry in the later 1860s and 1870s, and these earrings are compatible with the aesthetic of that period.However, screw back earrings were not seen in this era.It seems plausible that the…

  • GarnetBar Pin, 1884

    Throughout most of the nineteenth century garnets were a popular stone in jewelry.Particular cuts of garnets, such as cabochon or faceted, help to indicate the made date.Garnets with smooth surfaces or cabochon were popular in the early half of the nineteenth century, while faceted garnets were popular during the later half of the nineteenth century.Delicate lace pins such as this were popular beginning in the 1880's and maintained popularity through the early 20th century, as they could be worn…

  • Pair of Bracelets, about 1885

    These inexpensive bracelets were popular in the late 19th century. Sold in pairs, they were likely worn one on each wrist.The large decorative plaque is vaguely Etruscan revival. There are some other historical revival aspects to these bracelets as well, notably the knife edge work which was used in some Greek and Roman revival jewelry.The pearls appear to be genuine although the rest is plated.

  • 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.

  • Earrings, about 1860

    Between 1840 and 1860 hair jewelry was at the peak of production continuing on with watch chains up until the end of the nineteenth century.Hair jewelry or sentimental jewelry was valued by people not only for the intricate detail of the weave, but also because it included hair of a loved one dead or alive.This particular piece is in fine condition; however, many pieces of hair jewelry, given its delicate nature, do not survive over the course of time.

  • 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.

  • Cuff Link, about 1900

  • Cross Pendant, about 1860

    Woven hair, or plaited hair, jewelry was quite popular in the mid nineteenth century.It was sentimental jewelry in that it was used to remember loved ones who moved away, to simply recall the loved ones even if near, or to memorialize those who had passed away.Some enjoyed hair jewelry because of the lacy nature of the material.Hair jewelry could be made at home, instructions were found in Godey's Lady's Book and other popular publications, or by jewelers.Hair jewelry fell from favor by the 1880…

  • 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…

  • Watch Chain, about 1860

    A fine hair watch chain, exquisitly made, for a gentleman.The different colors of hair used to compose the links suggest that several family members are commemorated with the chain, so may not be used in mourning.Such chains could be made at home with instructions or made by a jeweler.These sturdy links may have been made by a jeweler who wound or wove the hair around a wire or other sturdy material.

  • Pendant, about 1890-1915

    Originating in France and achieving its highest point of popularity between 1892-1902, the Art Nouveau movement was showcased at the Paris Exposition in 1900.Art Nouveau emphasized craftsmanship rather than mass production and put more importance on design rather than material.The main characteristic of an Art Nouveau piece is a dynamic, undulating, and flowing curved whiplash line of syncopated rhythm.

  • Bracelet, about 1860

    Snake motifs are popular with the Victorians and are often seen on bracelets.Like wreaths, the snake with tongue in its mouth is another symbol for eternity.Because this locket/clasp holds a fine plait of human hair it is plausible that this could also have been used to memorialize the deceased; however, it could also be a symbol of everlasting love and include a lock of the hair of the loved on.It is not clear if the stone is paste or garnet.

  • Cameo Bracelet, about 1860

    Cameos were traditionally carved from stone as carvers carefully worked in layers of agate, cutting away lower layers of color and leaving, in relief, layers of white or ivory colored strata.It is difficult and expensive work.In the early nineteenth century Italian carvers began carving cameos from shell, working the strata to leave white layers in relief on the cameo.This shell cameo carving reduced the price of cameos somewhat. The fineness of some of the best shell cameo cutters rivals those …

  • Bracelet, about 1860

    Lovely, detailed tesserae work, probably the finest in our collection.Granulation work here is associated with Etruscan filigree and is a revival of the fine filigree work found at ancient archaeological sites.These mosaic bracelets, brooches, cuff links, etc. were very popular souvenir jewels.This was surely purchased as a souvenir piece on the Grand Tour,which were extended European tours especially through France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland; commonly taken at this time by youth of the ar…

  • Cameo Pin, about 1860

    Cameos were generally cut from stone until the nineteenth century when shell cameos were found to be lovely and affordable.Many were cut en cameo with images of the ancients, although medieval images were also popular.This one is interesting in that it may allude to the rescue of a sailor, as the angel holds an anchor while pointing in a direction of a flailing man.Perhaps this commemorates a sea rescue.

  • Earrings, about 1830-1850

  • Cameo Pin, about 1860

    Cameos traditionally were cut in stone; however, Italian carvers found a way to make these exquisite shell cameos in the early nineteenth century.This is an interesting depiction of an angel guiding a child as he walks near a serpent, which often symbolized temptation. It is likely an allusion to a child being guided by God on the right path.