• 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.

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Earrings, about 1870

    These earrings are quite typical gold metal and black enamel earrings dating from about 1870.This gold metal and black enamel decoration is quite popular 1870-1890.However, the decoration on the plaques appears to be from the late 1860s or early 1870s and the length of the earrings indicates a date of the 1870.By the 1880s earrings had become shorter to prevent them from becoming entangled in lacy collars; these are too long to date from the 1880s.

  • Mourning Ring, 1807

    This ring might be considered an interesting transitional mourning ring.Earlier mourning rings were generally set with sepia scenes under glass and set into the gold band.Later mourning and memorial rings, from the 1830s on, often included locks of hair and onyx, pearls or enamel; some were plaited entirely of human hair.This ring is plain and simple, not unlike other decorative accessories of this classical revival period, and does not include the earlier sepia scenes but is more akin to rings …

  • Mourning Ring, 1769

    This ring was made to mourn Stephen Van Rensselaer II, born in 1742 and died 1769.He was born into a great patroon family headed by Stephen Van Rensselaer and wife Elizabeth Goresbeck.Stephen II became lord of the manor house Rensselaerswyk at age five, when his own father passed away.Stephen II married Catherine Livingston, from another august New York colonial family--her mother was a Ten Broeck and her father Philip Livingston.Husband Stephen II died suddenly in 1769 at age 27 as one of the w…

  • Lace Pin, about 1880

    Lace pins become popular in the late 1870s and 1880s as bodices began to have higher necks and included more lace on them.Lace got entangled with heavy brooches with protrusions and so lace pins, which were lighter weight and with few protrusions, were developed.They could also be pinned to the higher necks and stand collars without pulling them down, and were often worn across the collar.The black enamel and gold colored metal form is extremely popular throughout the 1880s.