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 the rare beauty shown above.

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

Windows to the Soul

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and Lover’s Things

Called a lover’s eye, or an eye miniature, these are some of the rarest and highly collectible pieces of antique jewelry. Just as their name states, they are tiny watercolor paintings (most often done on ivory) of an eye… and nothing else.  The painting is usually surrounded by a decorative frame and covered with a piece of protective glass.  You may be wondering, “Why just an eye?”

Sources say that the eye belonged to a loved one, usually a forbidden love.  It was believed that if the painting only featured an eye, it would be nearly impossible to identify who is depicted.  Because in the case of a clandestine affair, anonymity is everything.  Only the person wearing the piece would know the secret identity.  Very romantic…

Most lover’s eyes were made from the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s.  Experts believe that fewer than 1000 of them are still in existence.  Here at Joden, we have three.  The one pictured above has already been purchased by a private collector, these two are available now. 


Near the end of the 1800’s, Queen Victoria revived the lover’s eye.  However, Victoria had them created of all of her loved ones:  her children, family, and friends.  Often, they became mourning jewelry, as many of them featured a hair receiver on the back.  The use of pearls often symbolized tears.  What a beautiful treasure!


Come to Joden to see these incredible love tokens,  and remember…

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

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Shelly Isacco

Think Inside The Box

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and Square Things

The corners have worn off the vintage red leather.  The ivory satin lining is tinged with age, rendering the gold lettering barely legible.  The crushed velvet is perfectly contoured to the piece it was created for. 

box-worn-edge     box-lining

Each box is nestled into the plush lining of the showcase; many of these boxes are as valuable as the heirlooms they hold.

The antique cases are juxtaposed with rows of sleek, modern black boxes; the Joden name is stamped in brilliant gold Copperplate lettering on the lid.  They are pristine in their newness, filling the shelves beneath the cases – waiting to be filled. 


Each of these boxes are an essential element of the Joden charm, meant to intrigue and delight customers, but neither is as critical to our business as the cardboard boxes.  If you have visited our shop, perhaps you know what I’m talking about.  Ordinary looking from the outside, each box has a handwritten label that identifies its contents: Bracelets, Pins, even Antique.  Virtually every one has been repaired time and again.  The paper coverings are worn to a soft patina…  the result of passing through our hands thousands of times.  These boxes are the heart of Joden Jewelers.

box-stack-3     box-stack

We encourage customers to sort through them…  “Dig in!”  It’s like sifting through your grandmother’s jewelry box.  Every piece is more appealing than the last, Victorian carved cameos, delicate filigree brooches, and hundred-year-old engagement rings.  It’s a miniature treasure hunt, a feast for the eyes.  Imagine stacks of cardboard boxes, splitting at the seams with fine antique and modern treasures.  Something is waiting for you to discover it.

box-contents-2     box-contents

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

Written by Carrie Martin

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