Wedding Jewelry Trends Incorporate Beautiful Brooches

3.5 Carat Diamond Brooch in Platinum

Thanks to First Lady, Michelle Obama, as well as the ever-popular British Royals, Queen Elizabeth II and Kate Middleton, the brooch has come to stay. A beautiful brooch can add a certain flair, while at the same time establishing a classic elegance to any ensemble. This truth has finally asserted itself into wedding jewelry trends, and we can’t be more thrilled.

Brides are using brooches to upstyle their shoes, their hair, their bustles, their veils, and more. They’re even replacing the flowers in their bouquets with the most exquisite arrangements of vintage brooches. We have seen gorgeous pins embellishing invitations, pinned to the groom in lieu of a boutonniere, and even affixed to the fondant on the edge of wedding cakes.

Many of these beauties are handed down or borrowed from family members, and these are the ones we would expect a bride to wear on her bustle, or in her hair, or filling out her bouquet. Still others are sourced from vintage shops, thrift stores, or flea markets, and it makes sense to use these rhinestone brooches to add a flourish to your invitations, to the cake, or to your table decorations.

Perhaps, though, you would like to embellish your dress with a finer piece of authentic antique jewelry. That’s where we can help!

Here we offer a sampling of some of our most beautiful brooches featuring authentic gemstones and diamonds. These you might want to wear on your veil, or pin it to your groom’s lapel, or you may want your bouquet’s centerpiece to become a family heirloom to pass on to your daughter or granddaughter one day.

Here we offer several of our most beautiful brooches which will add more than a touch of sophisticated elegance to your wedding day: 

 

Antique Art Deco Diamond Brooch

 

This gorgeous antique Art Deco bar pin brooch would make a perfect accent for your hair or headpiece. It is crafted of solid ornate platinum filigree with a total of 2-2/3 carats of genuine Old European cut diamonds.

Art Deco Created Sapphire Filigree Brooch

 

 

 

 

This stunning petite Art Deco filigree brooch is crafted of 14k white gold, featuring three lozenge cut created blue sapphires in bezel settings. Finished with ornate milgrain edging, this beautiful brooch would be the perfect “something blue” for your wedding day.

 

Natural Opal and Diamond Brooch

 

 

This Victorian-style brooch features a magnificent opal with stunning round and baguette diamond accents. This gorgeous piece is a statement piece, sure to add the elegance and sophistication of royalty to your wedding ensemble.

Charlize Theron Treats Herself to Delectable Designer 18k Gold and Pave Diamonds

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

There’s a bit of buzz out there today about Charlize Theron’s choice to wear her newest Anita Ko jewel on her left ring finger. It’s a beautiful and very feminine 18k gold ring featuring a pair of twin leaves paved in diamonds. The leaves arc together, nearly kissing. The ring retails in rose gold, through Net-A-Porter, London Jewelers, and Broken English, for $4,700, so you know if she’s chosen the yellow gold it will have cost at least a bit more.

Her choice to wear the ring on that finger has led to rumors that she and Sean Penn are about to tie the knot. However, this ring is not an engagement ring from her boyfriend. Though the couple appears to have discussed the possibility of marriage and adopting a sibling for Ms. Theron’s son, Jackson, their time has not yet come.

In fact, Ms. Theron reportedly purchased the ring for herself, adding it to her growing collection of Anita Ko designs. For the past several years we’ve seen Ms. Theron wear her favorite KoKo earrings, the pyramid studs in 18k gold, to both gala and casual events. She has also been seen wearing the designer’s fan-style diamond and gold earrings, with a diamond stud resting in the center of her ear lobe while an arc of diamonds rests just below the rim of her ear.

It’s no surprise that Ms. Theron adores her Anita Ko pieces, since the LA-based designer prides herself on offering fine jewelry designed with today’s woman in mind. Ms. Ko brings an edginess to feminine chic, and her aim to make pieces that are “cool and luxurious” {cited} has caught the attention, not only of Charlize Theron, but of several other cutting-edge celebrities, including Demi Moore, Kate Hudson, and Victoria Beckham.

Ms. Ko does not feel she has to compete with the big names in jewelry, rather she feels she must distinguish herself from them and the traditions surrounding them. “The established houses created in a time when many pieces were worn on special occasions and purchased by men. This is the opposite of how I design. I want women to connect to their luxurious side and treat themselves with a beautiful piece that makes them feel special,” Ms. Ko told Divia Harilela of Post Magazine.

That is precisely what Ms. Theron has done–she has treated herself to an artfully designed, luxuriously feminine designer ring, and she has chosen to wear it boldly on the finger of her choice, despite the obvious clamor it would cause in the press.

We’re glad she’s done it, for it reminds us again of the sheer pleasure of wearing beautiful jewelry and the fact that today a woman is allowed to treat herself.

If you’re looking for a way to treat yourself to cool luxury, we have a number of beautiful designer rings in stock today.

We invite you to call and make an appointment. We’d love to see you walk out of our showroom ready to start some rumors of your own!

The Ruby: July’s Birthstone Promises Wealth and Good Fortune

Antique Spesserite Garnet and Ruby Ring with Filigree Details

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Haven’t most of us harbored dreams for our children, convictions that lead us to take tremendous risks despite the pressing ache of limited resources? The only thing that keeps us going is the innocence in their eyes and the emergence of their life’s true gifts.

Such was the case for Heraclea, a young Greek widow whose debts threatened to crush her convictions.

“The gods have given you a great gift, my son. Some day my Glaucon will be a famous sculptor; we must keep these hands for their true work,” she exhorted her boy, who begged her to send him to work to pay her debts {2}.

She knew not what to do about her dead husband’s vexing ‘friend’, who had just threatened to take her baby, Phorion, as a slave for his own son, in lieu of payment for her debts. But she did not want to see her son abandon his studies.

It would be the chivalrous act of a grateful crane that would change the course of Heraclea’s fate and imbue the ruby with the aura of good fortune and ensured success.

The Crane’s Astonishing Gift

Here’s how it went down:

Just as Heraclea entreated her son to stick with his studies and allow her to handle the problem of her debts, a flock of cranes flew overhead. It was the custom of this family of cranes to alight in her garden and eat their fill. As the cranes began to descend, a wild commotion broke out.

A cacophony of beating wings and desperate squawking came to an abrupt end as one of the birds landed unceremoniously at the widow’s feet. The crane lashed out in fear as Heraclea reached out to soothe it. “Nay, Master Crane, it is a friend; do not glare so fiercely,” she told the great white bird {2}.

She noted at once that the crane’s leg was broken, so she and Glaucon set to work affixing it with a splint. As summer passed, the bird’s leg healed so that he was able to return with his flock to their southern home for winter.

Neither winter’s sleep nor spring’s promise brought comfort to Heraclea’s heart. She finally decided to tell Glaucon of Phorion’s awaiting fate. “I will go in his place, Mother,” Glaucon declared valiantly.

“Nay, my Glaucon, you are your father’s eldest son and head of the home. It is as the gods have willed. The luck has departed from the house; even the cranes have not returned to us,” Heraclea lamented {2}.

Though the cranes returned a week later, Heraclea remained despondent. “It is too late. What good fortune can they bring?” she sobbed {2}.

Startled by a gentle touch upon her shoulder, she lifted her head to greet her visitor. “Master Crane!” she cried. “Why, Master Crane! Did no one welcome you back, poor bird? Oh, it is a sad house to which you come, Master Crane,” she declared forlornly {2}.

Allowing her a dignified moment to stroke his neck, the crane stood regally before dropping a gift into her lap. He no sooner left his gift, then abruptly took flight to return to his nest.

“Let no one say that a bird does not have a grateful heart,” she exclaimed as she gazed upon the ‘pretty red glass’ lying in her lap {2}.

Soon after, Glaucon returned from town with an announcement, “Mother, I have found work in the market. To-morrow I leave the school,” he said tiredly {2}.

Heraclea held her disappointment near to her breast and, as a diversion, showed her son the beautiful gift.

“Why, Mother, in the dark corners it shines like a lamp. One could almost see by its light,” he exclaimed {2}.

“Is it the work of demons?” she cried {2}.

Glaucon ran to fetch the goldsmith in Athens. Heraclea prepared for Old Cleon as she would prepare for a distinguished guest. Not until after his feet were washed and his appetite assuaged with bread and fruit did she place the red stone into his hands.

“I know not how you came by this,” he said, “but there is none such in all Athens. If it is yours, you are favored of the gods. Never but once have I handled such a ruby” {2}.

So The Story Ends

So the story ends, leaving the reader to imagine how the next scenes played out. However it went for the little family by the sea, we know that Glaucon went on to study the art of sculpture, and Phorion was free to fly in the calling of his own life. These two would never see the backside of a master’s hand, and I imagine that if ever they became lenders, they were softer, kinder, and more gracious than their father’s vile ‘friend’.

Because of the kindness of a great white bird, this family had a chance at the greatness endowed to all of us, and the ruby has come to promise wealth and good fortune to all who own one.

Bibliography

  1. “De Natura Gemmarum.” The Southern Review, Volumes 12-14, April 1873, pp. 445-459.
  2. Mitchell, Mary E. “The Stone of Success,” St. Nicholas Magazine, July, 1906, pp. 833-838.

Tiffany’s Chooses White Gold, Diamonds, Green Tsavorite, and Blue Sapphires to Commemorate the Seahawks’ Super Bowl Victory

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

Seahawks Championship Super Bowl Ring 2014. Photo Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On June 19, 2014, a special presentation ceremony took place in downtown Seattle to commemorate the landmark victory attained by the Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVIII. As mentioned in a previous article, these rings are given not only to the playing team members, but also to all the folks behind the scenes that make the season possible, including managers, scouts, financial supporters, and more.

The rings are subsidized to the tune of $5,000 per ring by the NFL, with a limit of 150 distributed at the NFL’s expense. Teams can spend more than the allotted NFL budget and have more rings made, but the terms the NFL sets are firm. These rings are specially designed, typically by a high-end designer chosen by the winning team, with the input of the team’s owners, coaches, and other key leaders within the team’s organizational structure.

These rings are meant to capture the essence, not only of the game but of the team’s entire season–no small feat on the canvas of a jewel the size of a small rock. Speaking of rocks, the Seahawks wisely chose to commission Tiffany & Co., the decided leader in the artful display of all manner of rocks, to design their Championship Ring.

True to their collaborative nature, the Seahawks have painted a story on each ring that “represents a distinctive tribute to this team, our fans, the Pacific Northwest and the Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII,” said Peter McLoughlin, the team’s president {3}.

On the face of the ring, 64 round diamonds fill in the white gold outline of the team’s bird-head logo. A second outline of blue enamel further distinguishes the logo. A single fancy-cut, prong-set, green tsavorite serves as the bird’s eye.

Above the bird, a marquise-cut diamond is bezel-set in the form of stylized version of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and these two iconic symbols are surrounded by an ocean of 107 round diamonds. The ring’s border reads “WORLD CHAMPIONS,” and is further framed by two sets of six round brilliant diamonds on either side.

In profile, the ring’s head is rimmed by a single row of 40 blue sapphires, and from it hang two “12″ flags etched in blue enamel. The shanks of the ring tell the story of the season. Etched on the side boasting the player’s name is a long view of the south-facing aspect of Century Field. A “12″ flag flies in relief against Mt. Rainier in the distance, a solid tribute to the 12th “player” for the Seahawks, the team’s loyal fans.

The player’s number stands in relief upon the playing field, and just below, their final record of 16-3 is etched just above the 12 feathers engraved into the bottom portion of the band. These feathers are stylized to mimic the feathers featured on the team’s uniforms.

The opposite shank features a view of Seattle’s skyline in the background, with the Space Needle taking prominence. In relief one sees the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the words “Super Bowl XLVIII”, and the NFL Logo, etched against the background. The year 2013 is engraved into the band just above the stylized feathers.

The inside of each ring is etched with the following phrases: “LEAVE NO DOUBT”, “24/7″, “SEA 43-DEN 8″, and “WHAT’S NEXT?”

Tiffany & Co. expressed their pleasure in working with the team to design their special rings. “Having crafted the Vince Lombardi Trophy since its inception in 1969, we are proud to have now also crafted the first Seattle Seahawks Championship ring–both being the purest symbols of hard work and perseverance,” said Tiffany’s representative, Victoria Reynolds {3}.

In the many images and videos floating about on the Web, the indelible mark of Tiffany’s impeccable quality is unparalleled in the structure and design of these rings. They truly are beautiful jewels, and the story they tell is a story well loved by everyone in the Pacific Northwest.

We applaud the hard work and dedication set forth by the best football team in the world and the best of the best in diamonds.

Notes

  1. Crabtree, Curtis. “Seahawks Get thier Super Bowl Rings,” NBC Sports, June 20, 2014. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/20/seahawks-get-their-super-bowl-rings/.
  2. Eaton, Nick. “See the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVII Champs Ring,” Seattle PI, June 19, 2014. http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2014/06/19/see-the-seattle-seahawks-super-bowl-xlviii-championship-ring/#24457101=3.
  3. Seahawks News. “Seahawks Receive Super Bowl Rings,” posted June 19, 2014. http://www.seahawks.com/news/articles/article-1/Seahawks-Receive-Super-Bowl-Rings/b40ff317-235c-4f40-aac5-45f255b62c5e.

Shopping for a Vintage Engagement Ring? Look to the 1940s!

Capture the Essence! of 1940s Vintage with this 18k Gold and Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of 1940s Vintage with this 18k Gold and Diamond Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Once again, decadence returned to fashion in the 1940s. Glamour neared its peak, with the faces of Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, and Bette Davis leading the pack. The jewelry industry took a turn back toward yellow gold, and diamonds were en vogue for engagement rings.

As with nearly every decade, bridal jewelry erred on the conservative side, with modest and largely plain bands and classic diamond cuts. Platinum continued to hold a place on the wedding scene, though yellow gold most definitely dominated.

The round brilliant cut was making more of an impression, though the more traditional (at the time) transitional and Old Euro cuts continued to hold their own. Blue sapphires and rubies maintained a slight presence on the scene, though the diamond was definitely king of the 1940s.

Are you shopping for a lady that exudes class, sophistication, and a touch of decadent elegance?

Then look no further than EraGem’s 1940s vintage engagement rings. Give us a call today, so we can outfit you with a dreamy ring for your proposal!

Diamond Eternity Rings Are Making a Debut as Engagement Rings

Capture the Essence! of Eternity with this Square Step-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum. Photo ©EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Eternity with this Square Step-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Traditionally, diamond eternity bands were given as a gift from husband to wife on a significant anniversary. More recently, though, according to Today Style, couples are beginning to choose an eternity band as a stand-in for an engagement ring. This trend appears to be developing in sync with the increased popularity of stackable rings and bracelets.

The versatility and simplicity of eternity bands create a perfect foil for celebrities to hide their engagements from the paparazzi. Since eternity bands are low-profile, it’s easy to stack several bands together, even alternating them day by day to throw the media off their scent. In January, Ben Foster proposed to Robin Wright with two simple golden bands which the actress sports on her left ring finger. One is a golden lover’s knot, and the other is an eternity ring.

In keeping with the notion of wearing multiple bands on one finger, rather than purchasing a separate wedding ring at the time of their union, a couple can opt to add an anniversary band on their 5- or 10-year anniversary. Not only does this decrease the initial impact to their wedding budget, but also allows the freedom to change styles over time. For those more trendy brides, this option has a tremendous amount of appeal.

Eternity bands come in all shapes and sizes, from wide bands with ornate detailing and evenly spaced gemstones, to narrow bands studded all around with diamonds or gemstones, to half-eternity bands with stones lining only the face of the band. They come in a wide range of precious metals, including platinum, yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and more. They can be intricately carved without stones, or they can be studded with stones of varying colors.

Truly, there is an eternity band for every style, every taste, and every whimsy. We invite you to make an appointment to come and see our wide selection of beautiful eternity bands.

Shopping for a Vintage Engagement Ring? Look to the 1930s!

Capture the Essence! of 1930s Vintage with this Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of 1930s Vintage with this Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Are you drawn to the sophisticated styles of such mavens of fashion as Ginger Rogers, Joan Crawford, or Norma Shearer?

Well, you’re in luck, because we have a number of beautiful vintage engagement rings that drip with 1930s glam.

As the decadence and extravagance of the 1920s gave way to the sensuality and sophistication of the 1930s, jewelry design turned toward more classic understated styles. Engagement rings from this period, while lending a nod to the architectural lines of Art Deco jewelry, became more streamlined, developing swiftly into what we now call the classic look. The gemstones of choice were white diamonds and blue sapphires.

Most brides-to-be wore a ring with a modest center stone, typically an Old Euro Cut diamond, an oval-cut or cushion-cut blue sapphire, or a transitional-cut diamond. Although solitaires were popular, a fair portion of 1930s engagement rings were decorated with a variety of accent stones,  typically single-cut, transitional-cut, or baguette diamonds.

On occasion, the Art Deco trend of using small triangular-cut or baguette blue sapphires carried over in a small number of early 1930s engagement rings. Platinum and white gold were the metals of choice, and often these simple simple tapering bands were embellished with filigree.

We would love to show you our selection of 1930s vintage engagement rings in person. Just drop us a line to schedule an appointment.

Turkish Engagement Traditions

Mens Scott Kay Javlin Diamond Wedding Band Brushed PlatinumTraditional Turkish marriages were once arranged by the parents of the couple. While this practice is still in effect in parts of Eastern Turkey, a majority of Turks choose life partners of their own accord. Once a partner is chosen, however, the path toward marriage is typically paved by the traditions that encompass the blessing and participation of their close-knit extended families.

Meet the Parents

Once a couple has chosen to marry, the next step is to meet each others’ parents. Without the approval of their parents, it is unlikely that the couple would proceed to marriage, regardless of the depth of their love for each other. Thus, though these initial steps toward marriage are rituals based on tradition, they do carry a lot of weight in the culture still.

The first step is to meet each others’ parents. These are formal affairs, where everyone dresses in their best and hosting family members take time away from their daily routines to prepare a special meal for their guest of honor. After dinner is eaten together, traditional sweets, tea, and fruit are served and a conversation commences. If the families approve, then a date is set for both families to meet each other to continue the progression.

None of these are casual affairs, such as we would arrange in America. Rather, they are all formal events laced with tradition. According to said tradition, when it’s time for the families to meet, they converge at the home of the bride-to-be’s parents. When the day arrives, her family prepares the food and helps her get ready. It is typical for the woman to visit a salon for hair and makeup. These meetings are considered a formal cause for celebration, so everyone dresses up and often important members of their extended families are invited, as well.

Turkish Coffee

The man’s family will arrive at the door with a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers in hand. This signifies a request to eat sweet and then talk sweet, and expresses clearly their intent to ask for her hand in marriage for their son. While some families actually declare their intent by asking outright, others allow the sweets and flowers to do the talking for them. Both ways are acceptable.

Once the guests have been properly greeted and the small talk is well under way, the bride-to-be commences with the first of the evening’s traditions: making Turkish coffee. A perfect cup of Turkish java has bubbles on top, and this test of her skill is the one his parents will claim to use to determine her potential as a good wife. Not to worry, inherent in this custom is a test of the groom-to-be’s character, as well.

The bride-to-be is encouraged to put salt in his coffee. If he is able to drink it without showing his displeasure, he will have demonstrated to her parents that he is able to show patience in the difficult days they will face in their future. As with most customs like these, this is an opportunity for the families to have fun together and not a true test of their character.

Humor aside, the next portion of the evening is a solemn affair, conducted by the oldest member of the groom-to-be’s family. He speaks to her family on behalf of the man, announcing his intention to request permission to marry their daughter/granddaughter. An elder of the bride-to-be’s family replies with their assent (hopefully), and then the couple take turns kissing the backs of their elders’ hands. As a symbol of sweet harmony between the families, sherbet is poured and everyone drinks to the arrangement.

The Rings & A Ribbon

Once the families drink the sherbet together, they choose an auspicious date for the engagement party. In cases where the families have known each other for a long time, or when the couple wishes to wed quickly, this event can be combined with the initial meeting of the families. Traditionally, however, the engagement party is a separate event, another opportunity to fix a fancy meal, get all dressed up, and celebrate the good life.

Between the meeting of the families and the engagement party, the groom-to-be’s mother will take her future daughter-in-law shopping for a new dress, fancy shoes, and engagement bands. These bands are typically gold, though they can be silver or platinum, as well, and they can run the gamut of styles, from simple plain bands to ornately engraved bands. At another time, the mother of the groom-to-be also sets out to purchase a very special gift for her future daughter, which she will present to her at the party.

On their chosen date, invitations are sent to close family and friends, and once again the families converge at the bride-to-be’s parents’ home. Lunch is served, with the women and men typically segregated, and afterward the customary rituals begin.

Jewelry and More Jewelry

First the mother of the groom-to-be presents her future daughter-in-law with the gift she purchased ahead of time: a lovely parure, including a necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings. At this time, other distinguished members of both families are free to present the bride with gifts as well, usually more jewelry.

Shortly thereafter, the engagement rings, tied together by a red ribbon, are brought out by the bride-to-be and an appointed family representative on a special presentation tray. This representative (typically an elder aunt or grandparent of one of the families) offers a word of intent and blessing and then places the rings on the bride and groom’s right ring fingers. In some families the couple will spend the rest of the evening joined by their rings and the red ribbon, but in others the rings are cut by the family representative with a specially decorated pair of scissors.

Afterwards, the youngest members of the families bring out the engagement cakes, and the families continue with harmonious conversation. In some households, it is customary for the youngest members of the families to join the newly engaged couple for a night out on the town, thus ending the party.

This engagement period is slightly different from ours in the States, as Turkish culture allows that the couple may or may not proceed to the altar from here. Even though expensive gifts are given, and even though rings are exchanged, the engagement period is one in which the families are expected to test their mutual good will. Much depends on this harmony between the families, and so there is a bit less pressure on the couple. The possibility of marriage is wide open and hoped for, but the arrangement is not actually as binding in Turkey at this point as it seems to be in America.

More Gifts

As the months progress toward the wedding celebrations, the couple’s families begin to lavish them with gifts in preparation for their new life together. Furniture and household goods are provided for the couple, so that when the wedding comes there is no need for the guests to bring gifts of tea towels, punch bowls, china, and mixing bowls. Instead, they rain upon her with money. Forget the money tree, the Turkish bride becomes the fount of all blessing as she is literally showered with bills and coins and gold. And this is after the henna night and an exchange of yet another set of rings, these worn on the left ring finger, and a series of parties and festivals that can last for weeks on end.

What a rich and glorious tradition, yes?!?

This Jeweled Waltham Ladies Wristwatch is a Relic of American History

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of American Watchmaking with this 1920s Art Deco Waltham Watch. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This gorgeous Art Deco Waltham ladies wristwatch has a gorgeous 18k white gold case which is bead set with 38 single-cut diamonds along the edges. Its interior, both above and below the face, is channel set with 12 Old European Cut diamonds, while 6 calibre-cut natural blue sapphires add a distinctive sophistication to the overall design.

The band is fashioned out of 18k white gold mesh, and the face is decorated in black Arabic numerals with blue steel hands. On the back an inscription reads “Mrs F.S. Dean Atlanta, GA”.

The Movement

The outside of this watch, with its clear declaration of original ownership, tells a distinctive story, one worth looking into at some point. However, it is the story that the inner movement has to tell that this writer is most interested in today.

The movement is the heart of a mechanical clock or watch. It houses all the moving parts that keep accurate time. The movement in this watch has 17 jewel bearings adjusted to 5 positions (or pairs), and those jewels are likely set in yellow gold.

According to Waltham’s records, this movement probably has a gold center wheel and an entirely gold train. Its balance wheel is likely made with gold balance screws and two pairs of gold mean-time screws. Its balance staff features the finest of pivots made in the early 1900s, and likely has two oil grooves {cited}.

Waltham Watch Movements

The movement in this wristwatch is stamped with the name of its maker, Waltham, and a serial number, 23158481. It is this serial number that grants us access to details about this watch that demonstrate its clear distinction among antique wristwatches. Here’s what we know about Waltham watch movements in general:

  1. All genuine Waltham movements are stamped with a serial number and the company’s name (which varies according to the year the watch was made).
  2. Waltham went through a number of mergers and transitions in its 100+ years as a company, so the name engraved on the movement provides evidence as to the year in which it was made.
  3. These serial numbers correspond to a detailed record which has been transferred from written ledgers kept by the company into a digital database.
  4. When the serial number is known, it is possible to determine a two-year period in which the watch was made.
  5. Waltham watches made between 1850 and 1957 represent the top of the line in American watches.

This Waltham Watch Movement

Since we have the serial number for this Waltham watch movement, we can be sure of the following:

  1. It was made between 1919 and 1920.
  2. Between 1907 and 1923, the official name for the maker of this watch was Waltham Watch Co., based in Waltham, Massachusetts.
  3. Waltham Watch Co. never made cases, though they did manufacture the faces and hands for their watches.
  4. Waltham Watch Co. sold their watch movements and parts to dealers and repairmen wholesale, so this watch movement was sold, likely to Mr. F.S. Dean of Atlanta, GA, by a third-party dealer, who likely sold the case and movement together.
  5. This watch represents a significant historical milestone in American watchmaking.

American Watchmaking

Watches were a hot commodity in America during the early 1900s, and wristwatches were just coming into high fashion for ladies, replacing the dainty pendant watches of the late 1800s. Waltham Watch Co., as it was called in 1920, had established itself as the leader in pocket watches, and for nearly 70 years the railroad industry in America and England used Waltham watches exclusively. Wristwatches were a new field, one that in the end would prove to be too different from pocket watches for Waltham to sustain their manufacture.

A Relic of American History

However, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Waltham Watch Co. stood above the rest as a pioneer in this industry. They were the first in the world to use machines to manufacture the complete mechanism for clocks and watches, and they were the first in the industry to use what is called the interchangeable system.

Prior to this time, this system of mass-producing every aspect of a complex mechanism using machines was used primarily in the arms industries of the American government. The purpose of this system was to allow for easy repair and replacement of damaged parts without having to retool the entire mechanism. It was a risky endeavor, since if only one part is off in a mechanical watch, the whole thing is a bust.

Prior to 1850, no one had attempted to use machines to mass-produce such intricate mechanisms, and the pioneers at Waltham would revolutionize not only the watch industry, but also the automotive and other technical industries of that time.

Given Waltham Watch Co.’s supreme popularity and distinguished reputation, it is highly unlikely that this watch movement sat on the shelf for more than 6 months after the time of its manufacture. That it was likely purchased brand new for a high-society lady in Georgia at the dawn of the 1920s demonstrates that this watch is not only a beautiful accessory, but a relic of American history.

‘Gold & The Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia’ Opens July 19, 2014 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

Winged Isis pectoral (538-519 BC). Harvard University--Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Used with permission.

Winged Isis pectoral (538-519 BC). Harvard University–Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Used with permission.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This golden pectoral ornament has to be one of the most spectacular pieces in the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) Boston’s upcoming exhibition Gold & The Gods: Jewels of Ancient Nubia. Found in 1916, near the Nubian pyramids in present-day Sudan, in the tomb of Amaninatakelebte, in a cemetery at Nuri, this exquisitely carved golden jewel features the winged goddess Isis kneeling with her arms outstretched.

She holds in her right hand an ankh, and in her left hand she grasps what appears to be the hieroglyph for a sail. The ankh represents ‘life’, and the sail represents ‘the breath of life’. Upon her head she wears a throne-shaped crown, the symbol for her hieroglyphic name. The goddess Isis appears to have debuted as a Nubian goddess, who was also worshiped in Egypt and the Hellenestic lands. She was revered most as the goddess of motherhood and fertility, known to heal and confer wisdom to her devotees.

This relic from Ancient Nubia is a superb example of the nearly 100 Nubian jewels the will be on display in Gold & The Gods, which opens July 19, 2014. Every one of these artifacts was discovered by archaeologists in expeditions led by a joint partnership between the MFA and Harvard University from 1905-1942.

This expedition extended from the banks of the Nile to the Mediterranean coast and to Sudan, and a majority of the hundreds of artifacts brought back from these important digs are housed in the museum’s Egyptian and Nubian collections. This particular exhibition of Nubian artifacts will feature a number of foreign imports (acquired by Nubian royals through trade routes established between the peoples of central Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Red Sea), as well as a number of truly unique Nubian pieces fashioned with advanced techniques in goldwork, beadwork, and enameling.

According to the show’s co-curator, Denise Doxey, who curates the Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the MFA, the “highly sophisticated and dynamic” Nubian culture produced Nubian artists who designed and manufactured “spectacular jewelry [which] demonstrates [their] technical skill and aesthetic sensitivity.”

Since this particular body of artifacts spans 2,000 years of Nubian civilization (1700 BC to AD 300), visitors will have the opportunity to witness the evolution of the many highly skilled techniques used by Nubian artisans. Many of these techniques, including granulation, repousse, and champlevé enameling, continue to be used by modern jewelry artisans. However, given the crude tools used in ancient Nubia and their primitive methods of controlling temperatures with fire, the results they achieved are absolutely astonishing.

Museum curators, Denise Doxey and Yvonne Markowitz (the MFA’s Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry), believe that visitors will “discover the wonders” of this ancient culture which is only now beginning to take its place on the timeline of ancient history. They also hope that visiting jewelry artists will be inspired to incorporate Nubian motifs and techniques into their own pieces.

If you’re planning to be in Boston later this summer, you will not want to miss this amazing exhibition. We invite you to visit the MFA’s website for more information.