Monday, February 7, 2011

Catch of the Day: February 7, 2011 Jewelry Casket 1904

I found this on eBay and my mind was filled with a hundred memories. They must have made a million jewelry caskets like this, because my grandmother, her mother, and all her sisters had one. Most had the gold wash warn off, and the pot metal underneath peaking through.  Rarely would the original satin and braiding be in place. But this one! This one is magnificent, and the roses on the lid!  Magnifique!

The bottom of this one bears the stamp, "4/4 1904" and "170".  If I'm not mistaken, that means that was the fourth of four done on a day that produced four, and that there was a a total run of 170 of this design. 170. That's all.  Imagine them only making 170 of something now. Imagine making something, from start to finish once, much less four times, in a single day now. Imagine a time when one made entire things, and didn't just insert tab a into slot b.  Imagine, in other words, the world before Henry Ford.

This caskets has survived the last 107 years without chips, dings, dents, cracks, or even impairments in the operation of it's hinges. The light blue lining has defied the moths and remains, though some stuffing is coming out. The seller believes the lining to be silk. So do I. Not because I've touched it or smelled it or even examined it's weave.  But because 1904 was a time before rayon or acetate. Silk was what they made such things with in 1904. And so silk, I believe it is.

It measures about 3 1/2" tall, about 4 1/2" long and about 3" wide.  That sounds about right. I know how it feels in your hands. It feels like the youth of people who love you. It feels like femininity honored when femininity was still, well, feminine. It feels like lace corsets and pantaloons. It feels like the rustle of petite coats and the cultivation of skills like embroidery and piano playing. The making of things which Jane Austen called of "little use and less beauty", but I disagree with her about the beauty.  Seen from a time when almost nothing is really hand made, the beauty shines like a diamond.

This nostalgia is shipped only within the U.S. and takes Paypal.  Unfortunately, paypal does not get you back grandmothers, great grandmothers, and aunts. Fortunately however, the gold wash never wears off memories and moths do not nibble at the heart.

The jewelry casket is offered by Mfcatt for an opening bid of $39.99.  The nostalgia is brought to you courtesy of my grandmother, her mother, and her lovely sisters - of whom one precious sister survives. It is priceless and while I will often share it, you may not have it.  I keep it locked within the vaults of my heart. And though I keep it, mostly it keeps me.

Never let anyone tell you that love dies. It goes on and on and on and occasionally shows up on eBay in the form of a rose covered jewelry casket washed in gold.

Happy shopping, my kittens,

Second Hand Roze

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