Take This Dog To Work

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling and Canine Things

Today is the 24th annual “Take Your Dog To Work Day”!  Originating in 1999, this is a day to celebrate America’s most beloved pets and hopefully encourage others to adopt a four-legged friend of their own.  Lovingly dubbed “man’s best friend”, dogs have long been the favored choice in companionship.  These faithful fur babies encourage an overall feeling of calm, help reduce stress and can even increase productivity in the workplace. 

Even in the 1800’s, Victorian ladies weren’t fully accessorized without a miniature dog.  These delightful creatures were small breeds that included the Schipperke, Skye, Maltese, and Yorkshire.  One of the most popular was, of course, the King Charles spaniel.  These playful pets charmed their companions with wide-set large dark eyes, a little snub nose and long fringe-like fur.

Depicted in this authentic Victorian brooch is one such pooch.  Tucked carefully under the arm of his keeper is this highly detailed curly-haired charmer.  Both figures have been carved from a yellowish toned lava (or tuff) rock.  These unique cameos were popular trinkets on The Grand Tour.  This trip through Europe was prevalent among upper class young men in the 17th-19th centuries as a sort of rite of passage exposing the individual to cultural refinement.  The city of Pompeii was one of the most common stops on the tour.  Beloved souvenirs from this great city were the cameos carved from the volcanic breccia that resulted from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the 1600’s.  

With a rosy gold frame, this high-relief three-dimension portrayal offers incredible attention to detail.  Observe the fine wispy tendrils of hair that have escaped from underneath the wide-brimmed hat, the very realistic bony paw that drapes over the gathered sleeve of the dress and the expression captured on the faces of both the young woman and her canine companion.  

Moderately priced at just $2,500.00 – this meticulously intricate representation is just one of the many cameos available at Joden.  If you can’t take your actual dog to work today, perhaps this brooch would be a fair stand-in.  

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

Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Dana Jerpe

Out of the Ashes

Joden Girl

Baubles, Bling, and Tuff Things

Nearly 2000 years ago, the city of Pompeii was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius – burying it under twenty feet of volcanic ash.  The city was uncovered in 1748, and quickly became a popular stop on the Grand Tour of Europe (a “rite of passage”  for upper class young men and women that served as a liberal education).   Travelers were exposed to the cultural legacy of the Renaissance.  Most returned home with trunks overflowing with books, artwork, and small cultural artifacts like statues, paperweights, and jewelry. 

In the area around Pompeii, craftsmen utilized the lava rock, also known as tuff, and carved cameos from it.  Myriads of faces decorated rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.  These lava trinkets became a sign of wealth, showing that the wearer was well-traveled and possessed discerning taste. 

This necklace and earring suite is an outstanding example of these works.  I am in awe of the intricacy of the carving…  from the individual strands of hair to the veins in the grape leaves.  Just think, this was sculpted using only a handheld tool called a graver or a burin.   Even after 200 years of technological development, the most highly skilled bench jewelers could not come close to this level of skill.  It’s exceptional and extremely rare.

The serene face, the grapevine headdress, and the urns – each of these elements play at symbolism.  Grapes often suggest bounty and abundance, and occasionally fertility while leaves stand for truth.  The hanging urns are a strong indicator that this was a very early piece of mourning jewelry.  When you begin to study each detail – the exquisite carving, the near perfect condition, and the abundance of symbolism, suddenly $12,800.00 sounds like real value. 

This suite is available exclusively at Joden Jewelers.  Go to our site and look, them come to us and touch. 

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Written by Carrie Martin

Photos by Shelly Isacco

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