Arts & Crafts Magazine

My Grandmother’s Jewelry Box … What’s in a Name (Pin)?

By Nellie @blackrabbitvt

My Grandmother’s Jewelry Box … What’s in a Name (Pin)?

Since receiving my grandmother’s jewelry collection I have been inspired – not only to create new designs for Black Rabbit using more vintage components (we already incorporate some), but also to explore, research, and write about the most remarkable or unique pieces that had belonged to her. It has been a joy to go through these vintage jewelry boxes, seeing the connection between each piece to who my grandmother was as a woman. It has been fun to catalog the items in a way that she could only appreciate – many of the pieces carried little tags that she had written notes on; she would have loved to be able to catalog the way I am, in a comprehensive computer file. It is a harder task to know where to start, with which piece to begin, in sharing here on this blog. Do I choose the most beautiful (and who’s to say exactly which piece that would be?), the humblest, the most collectible…?

It is perhaps an easy way to start, but an introduction does seem appropriate. My grandmother’s name was Josephine – though she usually went by Jo or Josie. There are a number of pieces in her collection that depict her name, or are monogrammed with her initials. Although this piece isn’t particularly remarkable, beautiful, or unique, it serves quite well as an introduction.

In reading about vintage jewelry, I am just learning the basics of dating pieces based on style, material, construction, or other aspect. The history of this pin, however, may remain a mystery for a while, until I learn more. It is made of clear plastic and it has a simple C clasp. The metal of the clasp is embedded directly into the plastic, not glued on or attached in any other way. My guess with this pin – which did not have one of my grandmother’s tags, is that it could be made from Lucite, and could be from the 1930s. I do believe anyway, that as my grandmother was born in 1914, she would have worn this pin when she was rather young still – a time for her that was mostly fun-loving and free-spirited; and the pin reflects that character.

In future posts I’ll share more from my grandmother’s collection – from Italian mosaic brooches to 1960s Flower Power pins. It seems she had it all, at least in her jewelry boxes! : )


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