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HomeContentsThemes > Photo-jewelry

Contents

Introduction
506.01   An introduction to photo-jewelry
506.02   Advert for Thomas Skaife (1860)
506.03   Advert for enamelled photo buttons (1898)
Types
506.04   Photo-jewelry: Bracelets
506.05   Photo-jewelry: Brooches
506.06   Photo-jewelry: Lockets
506.07   Photo-jewelry: Pendants
506.08   Photo-jewelry: Rings
506.09   Photo-jewelry: Stick pins
Uses
506.10   Photo-jewelry: Political
Photographic buttons and medallions
506.11   Photographic buttons and medallions
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
  
Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
 
  
Introduction 
  
506.01   Objects incorporating photographs >  An introduction to photo-jewelry 
  
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During the nineteenth century photo-jewelry was made using a variety of photographic types. Daguerreotypes and tintypes, also known as melainotypes, which used metal were ideal because of their durability and could be easily cut to size but other forms were used including glass-based ambrotypes. By floating the collodion image from a glass plate onto a ceramic one and then sealing it with glazes and a heat treatment durable photographs were created. Salt prints, albumen prints, gelatin silver prints and or paper based photographs could be used but they were not as long-lasting.[1]
Bracelets
Brooches
Lockets
Pendants
Rings
Stick pins
 
  
506.02   Objects incorporating photographs >  Advert for Thomas Skaife (1860) 
  
In 1860 Thomas Skaife of Blackheath in London advertised a five lesson course in photography:
T. SKAIFE having established a Depot and Laboratory for Pistolgraphy at 47, Baker Street, Portman Square, London, is prepared to instruct a limited number of Pupils in his Instantaneous Processes of Stereoscopy and Pistolgraphy, Enlarging and Indurating Pistolgrams, and Photo-Enamelling, in Five Lessons. Terms, One Guinea each Lesson.
 
1st Lesson.—STEREOSCOPY, with communicated Formula by which the twelvemonths' series of Instantaneous Stereos, ending with the celebrated "Last Firing of the Monster Mortar,'' (as exhibited at 5, Haymarket.) were produced.
 
2nd Lesson.—How to Pistolgraph Moving Objects.
 
3rd Lesson.—How to enlarge a Pistolgram from 10 to I5 diameters.
 
4th Lesson.—How to indurate a Pistolgram Portrait in Chromo Crystal, so as to render it permanent and suitable for Brooch, King, Locket, or Bracelet.
 
5th Lesson.—How to Photograph a Portrait on a convex enamelled plate (Brooch).
 
N.B. Pupils who have subscribed to the whole of the above course, will be granted Licenses (without additional charge) to practise either Pistolgraphy or Stereoscopy (with patent apparatus) professionally. [2]
 
  
506.03   Objects incorporating photographs >  Advert for enamelled photo buttons (1898) 
  
In the late 19th century advertisements appeared for photo-jewelry such as this one from The Arena (1898):
Latest Society Fad!
 
Enamelled Photo Buttons.
 
Mothers. Children. Wives. Sweethearts.
 
Marie to order, from any kind of photograph. Fastens like a brooch. An elegant present; A beautiful souvenir; useful, durable, inexpensive.
 
Send any size or kind of, photo with name and address plainly written on back, which will be returned to you unharmed or disfigured in any manner.
 
LARGE SIZE like gem. one for 50c, three for $ 1.00, Including a handsome 14K rolled gold, hard enamel brooch, in blue and gold, black and gold, pink and gold, white and gold, or in plain black enamel or celluloid.
Hand painted in water colors. 35c. extra each.
 
SMALL SIZE like cut, one for 25c, three for 75c, including one handsome gold-plaited brooch. Hand painted in water colors, 35c. extra each.
 
SCARF PIN5, I4K rolled plate gold setting, 50c. each; in water color is. 75c
 
LINK or DUMB-BELL CUFF BUTTONS, UK rolled gold, $1.00 pair; in water colors, $1-.50.
 
SHIRT WAIST BUTTONS, patent back..14K rolled in gold. 4 in set, $2.00, finished in water colors for $3.00.
 
THE LATEST OUT.
 
We are the largest manufacturers of Miniature Photo Jewelry in the world.
 
Owing to the special low price we are making, to introduce goods, we must invariably have cash with the order. We solicit correspondence. Send stamp for highly illustrated catalogue, a work of art.
 
Salesladies and Salesmen wanted, no experience necessary.
OUR GUARANTEE: If goods are not satisfactory, money will be refunded, or new photos furnished.
Estimates furnished from one dozen to one million buttons for advertising purposes, political campaigns, Sunday .Schools; so club-, etc., of every description. [3]
 
  
Types 
  
506.04   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Bracelets 
  
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In the 1898 short story “My Sweetheart’s Young Man” by Fred Gillett during a visit to a jeweller a bracelet is shown…
The only time this bracelet-watch would come in handy would be when she was ill, and the doctor came to feel her pulse. Besides the watch, this bracelet had a sort of trap-door, which buzzed open on provocation, and showed a place where a miniature photograph could be inserted.
 
"Whose photograph?" I asked.
 
"The young lady's young man's," answered the jeweller. "I don't know which of you two gentlemen is the one; but, whichever it is, it's him."
 
That enigmatic speech of the jeweller's first set me wondering which of us really was Cerise's young man—Knowles or me? "It's like this," said Knowles to me, interrupting my speculations. "When you marry her, she won't want a photograph of you, because she'll always possess the original."
 
He might more appropriately have said, "the negative." That's what I am—Cerise's negative.
 
"That's very true," I said. "It would only be waste of money to put my photo in. Still, I suppose we shall have to put some one's—for it would also be waste of money to buy a bracelet with a trap-door, and not put a photograph into it. We might have a photo of the Queen or Lord Salisbury."
 
"Or one of me?" suggested Knowles. It was just like him to think of the right thing on the spur of the moment.[4]
 
  
506.05   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Brooches 
  
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In a 19th century memoir the gift of a brooch from the last German Empress Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (1858 –1921) to a lady at the Augusta Hospital in Berlin was remembered:
Two days before I left, Her Majesty visited the hospital, and came to my room. Sitting down on my sofa she took a small parcel and a photograph out of her pocket. The parcel contained a black brooch of onyx, with a locket at its back. Cutting with a pair of scissors her photograph to the proper size and fitting it in the locket, she gave me the brooch, requesting me always to wear it in remembrance of her; she had worn it herself in very sad moments. Much affected by this great kindness of my most gracious sovereign I put on the brooch, and inclined to superstitious ideas as I am, I imagined it was a kind of talisman protecting me against evil, which I must guard like the apple of my eye. As the fastening seemed to me not secure enough, I went on my return to Coblentz to Mrs. Goldschmidt the jeweller, and asked her to make me an extra chain as an additional security, but she laughed at me and said that the fastening was as secure as could be. Still it was not so. When I, one evening, undressed, I discovered with dismay that this my supposed talisman was gone: and I became the more excited, as I never lost anything and now imagined that my good luck was lost with it also. I advertised in several papers offering a reward exceeding the value of the brooch, but in vain; it was not found, at least not restored to me. I was really afraid to meet Her Majesty again, and when a friendly lady advised me to buy a similar brooch, assuring me that the Empress would not become aware of the change, I could not follow her advice, as it was repugnant to my feelings. The Empress did not notice my loss, but I always felt guilty for not confessing it to her.[5]
 
  
506.06   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Lockets 
  
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Portraits and photographs in lockets are common place in Victorian popular fiction as this example by M.E. Braddon in the story “To the Bitter End” (April 1872) shows:
'I should like to give her something,' he said to himself; 'something as a—as a souvenir. I have caused her only too much pain; why should I not give her one half-hour of innocent pleasure? And it comes natural to a woman to be fond of these things. But I think she would hardly care for anything unless there were a sentiment associated with it. A locket, for instance—I suppose that would be the right kind of thing—a locket, with my photograph in it. She is simple enough and loving enough to value my unworthy countenance. And I am rather better-looking in a photograph than in the flesh—that is one comfort. There are some men whom the sun always shows at their worst, exaggerating every wrinkle; but me Helios treats kindly.'
 
He had almost decided the point to his own satisfaction, and was going into the shop, when he stopped suddenly, turned on his heel, and walked a few paces farther, still meditating.
 
'How about aunt Hannah?' he asked himself. 'There's the rub. If I were to send Grace my likeness, she must surely see it. What is there which those piercing eyes of hers do not see? And yet I must be the clumsiest of Lotharios if I can't cheat aunt Hannah. What were such sharp-eyed all-seeing people created for, except to be duped egregiously, sooner or later? Yes; I think I am a match for aunt Hannah.'
 
He turned back again, and this time went straight to the jeweller's counter. He selected a locket—the handsomest, or the one that pleased him best, in the shop: a massive dead-gold locket, oval, with an anchor in large rich-looking pearls on the back; such a jewel as a man would scarcely choose for a farmer's daughter, unless he had sunk very far down that pit from which extrication is so difficult and so rare. He turned the locket over in his fingers thoughtfully after he had chosen and paid for it.
 
'I suppose, now,' he said to the shopman, 'you could make me a false back to this thing, and put a portrait into it in such a manner that its existence need only be known to the owner of the locket?'
 
The shopman replied diffusely, to the effect that the thing was practicable, but would be troublesome, requiring great nicety of adjustment, and so on, and so on, and would be, of course, expensive.
 
'I don't care about a pound or two, more or less,' said Mr. Walgrave. 'I should like the thing done, if it can be done neatly. There must be a secret spring, you understand, in the style one reads about in novels. I never saw it in real life; but I have a fancy for trying the experiment. You can send to me for the photograph in a day or two; and the sooner you can let me have the locket the better.'
 
He tossed his card on to the counter and departed, more interested in this trifling purchase than he had been in anything for a long time.[6]
 
  
506.07   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Pendants 
  
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506.08   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Rings 
  
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506.09   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Stick pins 
  
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Uses 
  
506.10   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photo-jewelry: Political 
  
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In 1861 Charles Dickens published an article Election-Time in America in All Year Round: A Weekly Journal in which he described the types of promotional material, including photo-jewelry, that was common during elections.
Everywhere advertisements meet your eye of this inflammatory kind:
 
Roll On Roll Up !
 
Sixteen varieties of Campaign Medals, solid rim, with milled edge and giltshell rim medals containing beautiful melainotype likenesses of
 
Lincoln and Hamlin,
Bell and Everett,
Douglas and Johnson,
Breckinridge and Lane.
 
Mark Barnewitz and Jonathan Pumpner, 38 and 40, West Fourth-Street, New York.
 
Now, when I go to the store of Barnewitz, and buy these election badges, which are about the size of a five-dollar gold piece, I find they bear on one side the likeness of the nominee for President, on the other the Vice-Président, and are to be worn at the button-hole. I have seen thousands wearing them; and since I have been in America, and indeed a week ago on the Alabama river, I met a well-known duellist with a little silver bell on his watchchain : signifying thereby his changeless attachment to Mr. Bell, one of the candidates for the presidentship. These election medals follow me everywhere barefooted boys bring cigar-boxes full of them for sale, into the luxurious marble-paved smoking-rooms of the great hotels; lean dried-up men hawk them through the long avenues of the railway-cars, and awake me to recommend their medals and their "plum candy;" the shops have trays of them in their windows; you can almost tell in different cities how the voting is likely to go, by the majority of medals you meet, being either "Lincoln" or "Douglas."[7]
 
  
Photographic buttons and medallions 
  
506.11   Objects incorporating photographs >  Photographic buttons and medallions 
  
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Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Larry J. West & Patricia A. Abbott, 2005, Antique Photographic Jewelry: Tokens of Affection and Regard, (Larry J. West- Privately printed) 
      
  2. Λ Thomas Skaife, 1860, Instantaneous photography, mathematical and popular, including practical instructions on the manipulation of the pistolgraph 
      
  3. Λ This advert was published in 1898, The Arena (Arena Publishing Company), vol. 19 
      
  4. Λ Fred Gillet, Sept – Dec 1898, “My Sweetheart’s Young Man”,Crampton’s Magazine of Fiction [LateChapman’s], vol. XI, p. 57 
      
  5. Λ Agnes Elisabeth Winona Leclerq Joy Salm-Salm (Prinzessin zu), 1877, Ten Years of My Life, (Belford Brothers), p. 369 
      
  6. Λ M.E. Braddon, April 1872, “To the Bitter End”, Belgravia, vol. VII (Second Series), vol. XVII (First Series), pp. 159-160 
      
  7. Λ Charles Dickens, 13 April 1861, "Election-Time in America", All Year Round: A Weekly Journal, vol. 5, pp. 67-68 
      

alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  

HomeContents > Further research

 
  
General reading 
  
Meinwald, Dan, 1990, ‘Memento Mori: Death in Nineteenth Century Photography‘, CMP Bulletin, California Museum of Photography, vol. 9, no. 4 [Δ
  
West, Larry J. & Abbott, Patricia A., 2005, Antique Photographic Jewelry: Tokens of Affection and Regard, (Larry J. West- Privately printed) isbn-10: 0977710777 [Δ
  
 
  
 
  
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com 
  
HomeStorage and displayObjects incorporating photographs > Photo-jewelry 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
  
Ambrotypes 
Daguerreotypes 
Fashion 
Identity documents and badges 
Mixed media 
Tintypes 
 
  

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Photo-jewelry

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
Thumbnail19th Century Non-paper-based objects incorporating photographs 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Improved (November 12, 2010) If you have any photographic novelties or photo jewelry please share a scan or two.
ThumbnailPhoto-jewelry in the nineteenth Century 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (May 1, 2006)
 
  

HomeVisual indexes > Photo-jewelry

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
   Themes 
  
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Bracelets 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Brooches 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Lockets 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Pendants 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Political 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Rings 
ThumbnailFashion: Photo-jewelry: Stick pins 
 
 
  
   Techniques 
  
ThumbnailPhotographic buttons and medallions 
 
 
  
   Still thinking about these... 
  
ThumbnailAmerican Civil War (1861-1865): Portraits in brass bezels 
ThumbnailIdentity badges 
 
  
Refreshed: 13 December 2014, 00:24
 
  
 
  
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