Victorian Selfie

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and Carved Things

Grab your phone, strike a pose, and click!  Selfie!  In less than a second, you can capture a lasting impression.  But in the 1890’s, it took just a bit longer.  While photography was quite popular and widespread, it wasn’t instantaneous.  Instead, artisans took time, perhaps even months to create the perfect image… various methods were employed including miniature paintings, intaglio, and cameos.  Our extensive collection of antique jewelry boasts more than 200 of these tiny masterpieces, including this beauty…

There are two primary types of these vintage carvings – those sculpted from seashells and those cut from hard stones like agate.  This one is the latter, a late Victorian likeness etched from a bi-color piece of banded agate.  The stone itself grows in layers of color, the dark red and then the white.  The artist must then study the stone to determine how to make the face come to life.  This one features a woman shown in profile with her hair pulled back.  

Most cameos have been fashioned into brooches and can be quite large.  This one, however, is a perfectly sized pendant.  The small oval carving is ensconced a within multi-color gold frame, made entirely by hand.  With a pattern of rosy gold swirls, trios of small beads, and single-cut diamond accents…  this gem beats any selfie, hands down!  The number “36” is scratched onto the back of it…  perhaps indicating that it was the 36th carving of it’s kind.  It hangs from an 18 inch curb link chain and is available on our site.  Make a lasting impression of your own with this piece for just $1,400.00.

This pendant is just one piece in the rose gold edition of our Holiday Gift Guide.  Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to find perfect gifts for every name on your list!  

“Go to our site and look, then come to us and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Dana Jerpe

Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and a Mourning Ring

On Sunday morning, October 20th, 1839, John Gwynne bid farewell to his beloved wife of 26 years – Arabella.  Sometime thereafter, he had this heartbreakingly beautiful memorial ring made for himself.  

Each detail is a tribute to her life beginning with the hard stone cameo center.  This small oval black and white agate has been hand-carved with a ceremonial urn sitting beneath a weeping willow – echoing the grief that John must surely have been feeling.  The segmented band of the ring bears the words “In Memory Of”…  each bright yellow letter a sharp contrast to the matte black enamel background.  


Perhaps the most touching aspects of this dedication are on the inside – situated behind the center section is a hair receiver, carefully filled with a lock of braided chestnut colored hair.  Engraved in two rows are these words:  “In memory of Ararbella Gwynne the beloved wife of John Gwynne, Esq. who died on Sunday morn. Oct 20, 1839.  Aged 77”.  I can picture his wrinkled and aged hands holding her plait, and tenderly cutting a bit of it to be forever preserved beneath the glass.   


This is the only men’s mourning ring I have ever seen.  I found it to be terribly romantic, so much so that I was inspired to do a bit of research.  After many, many rounds of Google-ing, I was able to locate a trio of books as well as a website or two that list these two Plantagenets….

I uncovered three excerpts of interest (shown here…  in the order in which I discovered them).


I was both surprised and delighted to find any bits of information – imagine my excitement when I saw that John Gwynne is a direct descendant of King Edward, III!  Royalty, indeed.  I was also able to discern that they were married in 1813 – making Arabella a 51 year-old bride.  Perhaps it was a second marriage, or perhaps she had waited all those years for true love.  They had 26 years together.  John passed 13 years after his wife in 1852.  The ring is in quite good condition (especially for its age) – however, the enamel is chipped along the back side of the ring.  I like to think its because it was worn…  every day.  And that it brought John comfort to know that part of Arabella was still with him while part of her was waiting…  beneath the weeping willow.

“Oh bury me under the weeping willow

Yes, under the weeping willow tree

So he may know where I am sleeping

And perhaps he will weep for me.”

lyrics credited to The Carter Family

I hope you’ve enjoyed the story of John and Ararbella Gwynne as much as I enjoyed discovering it.  Come to Joden to see this rare royal treasure for yourself, and click on the newsletter link below to have Joden Girl delivered straight to your inbox.  

“Go to our site and look, then come to Joden and touch.”

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Shelly Isacco and Carrie Martin

Call Now Button