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Victorian Times: 19th Century Jewelry Catalogues Amidst the Rise of Mass Production

Tanzy Ward

Victorian Times: 19th Century Jewelry Catalogues Amidst the Rise of Mass Production

The Industrial Revolution (c.1760-c.1840) birthed various advanced techniques that ushered in mass production within the jewelry industry. Advancements in jewelry techniques created a substantial market for ready-to-wear designs with superb craftsmanship. Fine jewelry of superior quality was accessible to a broader range of people, including the emerging Victorian Middle Class.  Electroplating allowed for thin layers of gold and silver to be combined on a metal base sheet. This technique introduced a new collection of jewelry choices that were more lightweight and affordable compared to the pricier and heavier pieces created with precious metals. Engraved gold-filled bangles with intricate etched designs were highly sought after,...


Black Victorian Photographic Jewelry: Progressive Portraits of Elegance & Poise

Tanzy Ward

Black Victorian Photographic Jewelry: Progressive Portraits of Elegance & Poise

Historically, the image of the Black Victorian has been affiliated with harmful and inaccurate depictions. However, there is a vast number of beautiful antiques that showcase the non-distorted image of Black Victorians. Photographic jewelry was trendy during the Victorian Era (1837-1901) and was used to honor loved ones sentimentally. The custom of wearing lockets and pendants featuring loved ones was a beautiful gesture to celebrate the living and dearly departed. Family members would sit for portraits and have customized jewelry pieces created, which is a tradition still prevalent today. Although society tried to emphasize negative images and caricatures of Black...


Ancestral Treasures: Historic Preservation of Family Heirlooms

Tanzy Ward

Ancestral Treasures: Historic Preservation of Family Heirlooms

This month I had the honor of doing my first lecture and presentation titled “Ancestral Treasures: The Historic Preservation of Family Heirlooms”. In my presentation, I wanted to emphasize the importance of preserving sentimental objects for storytelling. Each historical heirloom is connected to a fascinating life and memories. Our family keepsakes include jewelry, portraits, letters, furniture, and other valuable objects that have been passed down several generations.   My first lecture, presented at the Cherokee County History Center, emphasized the importance of preserving ancestral heirlooms. Each sentimental object has a very fascinating story and is linked to the treasured memories of...


Historic Preservation Month: First Annual Save Your Spaces Festival

Tanzy Ward

Historic Preservation Month: First Annual Save Your Spaces Festival

The heart of historic preservation is its community. Many unsung stories and legacies are overlooked and not preserved properly. These intricate stories and spaces are deeply rooted in the identity of America. Unfortunately, many historical Black spaces are not being celebrated and registered as official historic sites. Save Your Spaces, Georgia’s first annual historic preservation festival aims to spread the awareness of protecting Black spaces. The festival provides education, activation, and inspiration for historic preservation efforts. I am honored to be a presenter and panelist at the innovative and exciting festival, which is a first of its kind.  The first...


The Pearl Age: The Classic Gem's Fascinating History & Ongoing Legacy

Tanzy Ward

The Pearl Age: The Classic Gem's Fascinating History & Ongoing Legacy

Long before diamonds became highly sought after and more accessible during the 19th century, pearls were one of the most treasured organic gems in the world. Before cultured pearls were invented by Kokichi Mikimoto (1858-1954) in 1893, naturally grown pearls were extremely rare and costly (more expensive than diamonds). Historically, various cultures have used pearls to create jewelry for thousands of years. During ancient times and in the age of antiquity, pearls often represented a symbolic or sentimental act of adornment. Pearl artifacts can be found in ancient civilizations worldwide, such as Egypt, Rome, the Middle East, and China. It is...