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Attleboro Massachusetts: How The City Became Known as The Jewelry Capital of The World

Tanzy Ward

When collecting and researching antique jewelry, Attleboro, Massachusetts is a common place of origin for many makers & businesses of the 18th and 19th centuries. Originally, the area was inhabited by indigenous groups like the Pokanoket Tribe before English settlers migrated to the area in 1634. Prior to being called Attleboro, the area was called the town of Attleborough, but adopted it's current name in 1914 as the reincorporated city of Attleboro.  (1909 Postcard of Downtown Attleboro, Massachusetts. Arthur Unknown)  Dating as far back as the 1790's, Attleboro was home to a variety of manufacturing firms that specialized in accessory...

Historic Beads: The Fascinating History & Origins of Beaded Jewelry

Tanzy Ward

  The art of creating beaded jewelry can be traced to the prehistoric times. 'Paleolithic Age' or 'Old Stone Age' beaded jewelry crafted with great detail and skill were commonly created by many different cultures with the organic materials around them. The natural and locally sourced materials used to create artisan beaded jewelry often took time & a considerable amount of detail by hand. These amazing pieces of prehistoric history can tell us a lot about the tribes & cultures who created them. How the beaded jewelry was crafted can contain key clues that are important when analyzing the abilities...

Why Was Mourning Jewelry So Popular?: How Queen Victoria's Grief Created a Jewelry Sensation

Tanzy Ward

Although the tradition of wearing 'mourning' jewelry dates to least the memento mori accessories of the Middle Ages, the period most associated with the aesthetic is the Grand Era (c.1861-c.1881) of Queen Victoria's reign (c.1837-1901). The Grand Era began when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert passed away from typhoid fever. She went into deep mourning and wore long black crepe dresses and mostly black mourning jewelry for the remainder of her life. Queen Victoria was an admired iconic figure, and her personal style choices influenced a fashionable jewelry trend. Mourning jewelry emphasized sentimental mementos that memorialized departed loved ones. Common materials used...

The Choker: A Fascinating Retrospective & History

Tanzy Ward

      (Agostino Brunias Painting titled 'Free West Indian Dominicans, Oil On Canvas. 1770's.Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection) Far from a newer trend, the choker has went by many names and purposes for centuries. Women in both the ancient Sumer-Mesopotamia & Egypt empires layered chokers with other necklaces for protection and power. During the French Revolution in 1798, ribbons were worn around the necks to honor those who were killed by the guillotine. Anne Boleyn, King Henry VII of England's second wife, was famously portrayed in a painting wearing a pearl strand choker-like necklace with the...

Sustainable Option: The Preservation & History of Antique Coral Jewelry Collectibles

Tanzy Ward

Throughout history, coral jewelry has been used in ancient societies for a variety of reasons. Historically, coral was often used for sentimental adornments, which included serving as 'good luck' protection from illnesses & pandemics that were common. Coral accessories that are thousands of years old can be found in many different ancient societies, which includes Egypt, Rome, Greece, and China. In America, Native American tribes were first introduced to red coral through the Spaniards during the 16th century. One of the most highly sought after and collected coral is found in the Mediterranean waters, and is often called 'blood coral' due...