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This necklace is made from Berlin iron in the shape of an elaborately cast and lacquered cross with foliate trefoil shaped arms and a quatrefoil rosette in the center. The cross hangs from a "box chain" design of woven ring mail.
enamel (fused coating)
"Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England": Enameled iron household goods made in Berlin were available in the United States by the 1840s, but jewelry from this material was an exciting innovation. The Codman family might have acquired this delicate, enameled iron cross suspended from chain mail on one of their many trips to Europe.
Original to Codman House (Lincoln, Mass.),
3/8 (W) (inches)
Bequest of Dorothy S.F.M. Codman
"Hidden Treasures from Elegant Eras," Historic Jewelry from the Collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities presented by Shreve, Crump & Low, September 15 - November 30, 1995. "Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at www.historicnewengland.org/jewelryhistory/.
For more information on Berlin Iron jewelry see Bury, Shirley, "Jewellery, 1789-1910," v. 2 (1991): 698-702; Dawes, Ginny Redington and Corinne Davidov, "Victorian Jewelry: Unexplored Treasures," (1991): 110-114; Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America, 1600-1900," (1995); 257; Newman, Harold, "Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry," (1981): 37; Phillips, Clare, "Jewels and Jewelry," (2000): 72-73. For more information on the Codman estate see the entire issue of "Old Time New England" 71, no. 258 (1981).