Bracelet

Collection Type

  • Jewelry

Date

ca. 1885

GUSN

GUSN-101494

Description

This silver "love token" bracelet consists of ten circular charms with personalized inscriptions of initials, first names, and drawings of butterflies inscribed on one side. Six coins feature the design of the 1884 American dime (seated Liberty surrounded by the phrase "United States of America") on the side opposite the inscription. The coin charms are attached to a bright-cut silver adjustable wrist band with 'o'rings. The tab and buckle are now missing from the band.

Details

Descriptive Terms

bracelets (jewelry)
coins (money)
Bracelet

Label

This silver bracelet belonged to Lydia Chace of Providence; it was possibly a gift from her mother, Ella. It documents three generations of the family - cousins and aunts, grandfathers and sisters. This is far more than a love token, even though these coin jewels are often given that name. This bracelet was an heirloom, a wearable family tree.
Filing down the faces of silver coins provided a perfect and affordable surface for engraving. These inexpensive keepsakes were popular in the 1880s.
"Love Token" jewels were quite popular from 1870 to 1890. Silver dimes, nickels and half-dollar pieces were ground down on one side and then engraved and stamped with the initials, first names or nicknames of loved ones. The coins could be oxidized (blackened) to highlight the bright silver engravings. After engraving a jeweler could mount the coins into a wide variety of jewelry, from bracelets to brooches, chatelaines to watch fobs. A combination of vast new silver reserves discovered in the 1890s and a 1909 law making it a crime to deface U.S. currency led to the decreasing popularity of the love token in America. World War II sweetheart jewelry and keepsake gifts led to a brief resurgence in coin love tokens.

Inscription

"Mother / EF / Grandma / S.A.N. / S / ST / RC / Grandpa / Alice / Father / ?" (Engraved)

Additional Identification Number

941

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Maker

Unknown

Location of Origin

Providence, Rhode Island

Object Type

Adornment

Dimensions

3/8 (W), 2 3/8 (diameter) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Lydia G. Chace

Accession Number

1929.1792

Places

Rhode Island (United States)