Shells, Stones, and Sometimes Bones

Joden Girl

 Baubles, Bling, and Sculpted Things

Thoughts of antique jewelry often evoke images of carved cameo brooches and vintage lace collars.  As far back as the 3rd century B.C., artisans have been etching faces and figures onto the surface of an abundance of materials – shell, agate, coral, lava, gemstones, bone or ivory, and even glass.  At Joden, we have an extensive collection of fine cameos…  we recently added this rare beauty.

It’s an intricate miniature sculpture of Cupid, complete with his bow and quiver.  The cameo is fully surrounded by a coiled snake frame.  Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction, and affection…  while a coiled snake is a symbol of eternity.  The brooch clearly embodies everlasting love.  

Many people mistakenly believe that cameos are made in two separate pieces, a carved figure adhered to the surface of a contrasting colored shell or stone.  Actually, they are carved from one singular stone that grows in layers of color like the ones shown here.  The artisan exploits the variances in color to create visual interest.

 

It is perhaps the most rare shell cameo we have ever owned.  Not only is it rich with symbolism, but the carving itself is quite remarkable.  Seen in profile, the cameo measures nearly 1.5 inches from the base of the shell to the expanse of Cupid’s forehead.  

  

Look at it side by side with a more ordinary shell cameo – the Cupid piece displays ultra high relief.  The shell used to carve this extraordinary piece would have had to be incredibly large as well as thick to achieve this level of height in the sculpture itself.  Truly remarkable.  It’s available in our showroom for just $2500.00.

Come to Joden, where after 48 years, our motto continues to hold true…

“You can go to a museum and look, or you can come to Joden and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Shelly Isacco

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In Loving Memory

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling and Mourning Rings

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter… 

Duck Face, Kissy Face, Smize, or Squnich…

Millenials are memorializing every detail of their lives, from the most mundane to the downright inappropriate – it’s all there on social media for the world to see.  I’m not averse to it…  I’ve been known to pose for a selfie or two, send out snaps and check in with my girls on Facebook – but some life events deserve more than a quick pic and a hasty status update.  Things like engagements and weddings, or perhaps when a new life begins, and certainly when a life ends. 

They were doing it right two hundred years ago.  When a loved one passed away, the bereavement process often included the creation of a special piece of jewelry; it was called mourning jewelry.  These unique treasures usually included the name of the deceased person as well as their death date.  Many also included a special compartment for a lock of hair.  These small trinkets were handed out at the funeral while more elaborate styles were worn by family members. 

These are just three of the mourning rings we have here at Joden.  Black enamel was a recurring theme in this type of jewelry (as you can see) as were pearls, urns, and flowers.  Each one of these rings is engraved (from left to right)…

  • T.T.J.  14.12.1893
  • M.H.C. Mourant died 6th Oct. 1866
  • W:  Terry OB: 24 Oct: 1809: AE 53

    

The trio of rings on the left are all very similar to each other; the hair receiver on top surrounded by natural pearls (usually signifying the loss of a child).  Only one of them actually contains hair – the other two are still waiting for someone to fill them.  The ring on the right was made in the Georgian period.  The delicate blonde tresses inside have been plaited into a basket-weave pattern completely surrounded by sparkling purple gemstones. 

    

Quite a lot of the mementos made in the 1800’s were brooches and lockets, like the ones shown here.  The two pins in the foreground are exceptional examples of the fine workmanship that mourning jewelry is known for.  The locket in the background is covered in a layer of black enamel with a pearl-centered flower on the front.  As you can see in the photo on the right, the locket appears to have never been used…  the original blue silk is still inside in pristine condition.

I readily admit that when one of my sons is doing something particularly adorable or noteworthy, the first thing I reach for is my cell phone – to capture that smile forever.  Photographs are truly worth a thousand words, and I cherish all of mine.  But I can’t help but feel that if I had a ring on my little finger (with a lock of my loved one’s hair safely cradled inside), it would be incredibly comforting to know that I carried a part of them with me every day.  I’m certain that each time I looked at the ring, I would smile.  And remember. 

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Shelly Isacco

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Some Like It Scot

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and Scottish Things

About fifteen years ago, I read a book called “Outlander” – written by Diana Gabaldon.  (I highly recommend it to any and all!)  It changed my life.  Not only did I fall in love with the series, but I also fell in love with all things Scottish – naturally, that included the jewelry.

Most of the Scottish pieces that we have at Joden are brooches, like the one pictured below.

mini-dirk-brooch

This type of jewelry is often referred to as “Scottish Pebble Jewelry” – dubbed as such by Queen Victoria.  She and Prince Albert visited Scotland for the first time in 1842.  They were enchanted by the beautiful country.  After returning home, Victoria began gifting friends and family alike with tartans and Highland style gifts – primarily jewelry.  Most of this jewelry was constructed of intricately carved sterling silver set with the pebbles of Scotland…  also known as Agate.  These colorful stones were precisely fitted to the jewels made in the shape of Celtic knots, shields, crests, and dirks.

This (pictured below) is a silver agate Dirk brooch.  It was designed after a traditional dagger and sheath, and actually gives the appearance of three blades, each one accented on its hilt with a faceted round citrine.  The remainder of this piece is set with Bloodstone, Red Jasper, and Montrose Lace – all forms of agate, or Scottish Pebbles.  Circa 1890.

dirk-brooch-2

Another notable piece at Joden is this vintage Cloak pin (shown below).  The head of each pin is perfectly assembled from six different colors of carved and polished agate.  The two pins are then connected by a series of ten octagonal pieces of agate.  Its and explosion of color and texture.  Circa 1880.

cloak-pin

Due to the huge demand, English jewelers began making pieces in the same style.  Initially, they stayed true to the Scottish motif, but over time, the jewelry began to take on a distinctly English feel.  The agate that was originally from Scotland was replaced with stones from other areas.  And while the spirit of the jewelry remained largely the same, the quality waned.  Pieces produced after WWII (like the ones pictured below), while lovely, do not exhibit the craftsmanship of the ones made during the Victorian era.

two-brooches

So, if you’re an Outlander fan like me, or if you love Scottish Pebble jewelry, come visit us at Joden.

“You can go to a museum and look, or you can come to us and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Carla Leight

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