• 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.

  • 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 …

  • 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.

  • Bogwood Pendant, about 1865

    Bog wood is petrified wood found in Irish bogs, and is generally pine or oak. Jewelry made of bog wood was exhibited at every major exhibition in Great Britain throughout the nineteenth century.Such pieces generally include Celtic or Irish motifs, like the Irish harp or lyre in this piece, or symbols or monuments found at early Christian sites in Ireland. They areparticularly popular with those of Celtic or Irish descent. These pieces are similar to the Scottish pebble jewelry that was popular i…

  • 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.

  • Masonic Pendant, about 1820

    The Freemasons are the world's largest fraternal organization.What is known as modern Freemasons began in 1717 in England; however, the history of the legend of the Freemasons dates far back to biblical times with the building of King Solomon's temple and written evidence of the Freemasons appears in the fourteenth century.A secret society, there is no known founder of this fraternal organization.The Freemason organization is not a religious group, but rather a group based on many religious and …