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Unsung Portraits: Anonymous Images of Black Victorians & Early 20th Century Ancestors Book Release

Tanzy Ward

Unsung Portraits: Anonymous Images of Black Victorians & Early 20th Century Ancestors Book Release

Black Americana encompasses more than inaccurate caricatures and stereotypes. African Americans used photography to showcase themselves in a dignified and authentic light. Unsung Portraits: Anonymous Images of Black Victorians & Early 20th Century Ancestors honors the diverse portrait collection that reflects accurate Black Americana characterization. Every photograph is an original copy from my carefully curated personal collection. Although the photos do not contain the names of the subjects, each portrait allows us to visualize parts of their stories through the descriptive details. It is critical to preserve these captivating photos and honor their legacies. The portrait collection spans the Civil War Era,...


A Retrospective of Art Deco Era Jewelry Designs & Influence

Tanzy Ward

A Retrospective of Art Deco Era Jewelry Designs & Influence

One of the most inspirational & enduring historical jewelry periods is the Art Deco Era (c.1919-c.1939). Although early Art Deco designs were created before its designation, the movement adopted its official name from the Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925.  After the Art Nouveau Movement declined, there was still a highly sought after market for Art. However, more emphasis was placed on modern industrial designs instead of artisan handcrafted work. The French exposition celebrated & highlighted the newest styles in decorative arts throughout the world. The Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes Official poster, designed...


Collecting Czech Jewelry: An Identification Guide & It’s Historical Significance

Tanzy Ward

Collecting Czech Jewelry: An Identification Guide & It’s Historical Significance

Historically, the region of Czech Republic has been well known for their high quality glass craftsmanship and substantial Czech crystal deposits. Before Czechoslovakia became a country in 1918, the region was previously known as Bohemia. Factories produced and exported glassware, glass stones, crystal, and beads. During the Victorian Era, Bohemian garnet was a popular costume jewelry choice and mass produced in a variety of designs. Bohemian garnet was exported from Bohemia beginning in the Middle Ages. The beautiful semiprecious gem was routinely mined in Bohemia & considered to be one of the highest quality garnets. (Antique Victorian Era Bohemian Garnet Beaded Necklace...


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...