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This jewelry set consists of a jet necklace and earrings. The necklace is of polished jet plaques connected with gold 'o' rings. Each plaque is set with two groups of three seed pearls, one group at each end of the plaque. The groups are connected down the center of the link with a thin gold line. A large, faceted locket set with gold and seed pearl lilies of the valley hangs from the center of the necklace. The necklace clasp is a large spring catch from which the pendant is suspended. Each matching drop earring is constructed of a faceted oval set with gold and seed pearl lilies of the valley suspended by a gold 'o' ring from a shaped plaque set with a pearl and gold rosette.
In 1887 Sarah Elizabeth Silsbee Woodbury, in mourning for her father, Nathan Silsbee, wore a chain of gold and jet links embellished with gold and pearl lilies of the valley. The pendant contained a photograph, possibly of her father. Lilies of the valley, frequently chosen as a memorial flower, symbolized a return of happiness.
5/8 (W) (inches)
Gift of Mr. Harold W. Parsons
"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 jet jewelry and imitations see Bury, Shirley, "Jewellery, 1789-1910" v. 2 (1991): 657-709; Cooper, Diana and Norman Battershill, "Victorian Sentimental Jewellery," (1972): 19-30; Dawes, Ginny Reddington and Corinne Davidov, "Victorian Jewelry: Unexplored Treasures," (1991): 125-130; Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America, 1600-1900," (1995): 125-126, 254-256; Phillips, Clare, "Jewels and Jewelry," (2000): 94-95.
Title Onyx Necklace Accession Number 1930.224
Title Onyx Earrings Accession Number 1930.225 ab
Title Amber Bracelet Accession Number 1930.226