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Honoring American Archives Month: Upcoming October Events & Unsung Portraits Book Announcement

Tanzy Ward

Honoring American Archives Month: Upcoming October Events & Unsung Portraits Book Announcement

October is American Archives Month, which includes the historical significance of preserving portraits & family heirlooms. Antique portraits of our ancestors are important primary sources and interesting historical reflections from the past. Unfortunately, sometimes inaccurate depictions can overshadow positive self-portrayals. This is true for antique portraits of Black people during the 19th and early 20th century. Although there is a substantial number of photographs that depict Black Victorians in a poised & elegant way, caricatures and stereotypes have also plagued them for centuries. Therefore, it is an honor to preserve and collect antique heirlooms that depict Black Victorians. Antique portrait...


Victorian Times: A Collector's Guide For Differentiating Whitby Jet & Black French Glass Jewelry

Tanzy Ward

Victorian Times: A Collector's Guide For Differentiating Whitby Jet & Black French Glass Jewelry

  Perhaps one of the most recognized and popular materials used in Victorian Era (1837-1901) accessories are Whitby Jet and its emulation, French Jet. During the 19th century, jet was a common stone used in jewelry. Although the gemstone has been used long before the Victorian Era's Grand Period (1861-1880), jet has often been highly associated with this specific period during the 19th century. After Queen Victoria (1819-1901) went into deep mourning following the death of her husband Prince Charles (1819-1861), she began to wear all black. During the time, it was actually customary for loved ones to wear black...


Yale University Exhibition 'Allegories, Renditions, and a Small Nation of Women' Proclamation

Tanzy Ward

Yale University Exhibition 'Allegories, Renditions, and a Small Nation of Women' Proclamation

I am honored and excited to be a contributor in the upcoming Yale University/Yale Divinity School Fall exhibit: Small Nation Photographs: Allegories, Renditions, & A Small Nation of Women. The exhibit will emphasize Black Victorian women & the 19th century Black middle class through portraits, jewelry, antique clothing, collage artwork & other historical items. Zanathia Jewelry will have various antiques on display at the exhibit, which includes accessories that feature portraits of Black Victorians, original postcard photos from the 19th century, and other antiques. This exhibit is historically significant and the preservation of these items are important for retelling their stories.  (Collage...


Victorian Times: A Collector's Guide To 19th Century Enamel Designs & Techniques

Tanzy Ward

Victorian Times: A Collector's Guide To 19th Century Enamel Designs & Techniques

   The 19th century jewelry market saw an increase in mass produced designs due to the Industrial Revolution innovations that emerged. New improvements in metalwork techniques also meant improved enameling designs. It is common to see various 19th century Victorian pieces with enamel designs such as taille d'epargne and guilloché. Business firms and company manufacturers mass produced a large amount of Victorian jewelry with metalwork engravings. Intricate designs and new techniques were introduced to Victorians, and quality pieces became more accessible & worn with daytime casual looks.  Before the mid-19th century, elaborate and fashionable jewelry was often confined to the evening for special...


National Preservation Month: Treasure Hunting Black Victorian Antiques

Tanzy Ward

National Preservation Month: Treasure Hunting Black Victorian Antiques

This month for National Historic Preservation Month, it is important to highlight the growing market of highly sought after Black Victorian collectibles. When collecting Victorian antiques, it is rather rare to find sentimental mourning accessories that may feature woven hair strands belonging to a Black Victorian or an engraved locket with an African American portrait inside of its compartment. However, these historically significant items do exist, and are intricate artifacts that are important to preserve.  Victorian Portrait of An Unidentified African American Woman (Personal Collection). Antique Victorian Era Aventurine Beaded Necklace, From the Zanathia Jewelry Collection    History books have often...