Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remember Me - 1830s Woven Bead Chain

A little over a year ago I purchased this sweet woven bead necklace. I have been collecting the loomed beaded Victorian necklaces for a while...the ones that date to the 1880s to early 1900s. At the time I purchased this necklace...I just assumed that it was from the same time period but just a different style. Apparently I was not alone in my assumption. Often these are misidentified as American Indian or late Victorian.

Shortly after I purchased this necklace, I ran across a couple of auctions on Ebay that totally blew me away! When reading the descriptions...I learned that my necklace...much like the ones up for auction...actually dated to the early 1830s! WOW! The seller included a link to an article by Lynne Zacek Bassett, titled "Woven Bead Chains Of The 1830s". You HAVE to read her article!

I immediately went to the link and read the article. There are no photos but it is so informative! I could not believe what I was reading. It was primarily a trend and an art form found only in America. Young women of the 1830s would make these woven bead wear or for gifts. Much like teens and young adults today...making things for their friends and family. The trend was short lived...and only lasted about four years. So these are extremely rare and hard to come by.

Most of the necklaces or bead chains are very long and very delicate! The beads are so tiny that I don't know how anyone made ANYTHING from them. The necklaces are said to be 40 to sixty inches in length and about 1/2 of an inch wide.

Mine is 43 inches long.

Each symbol that is woven into the chain has a meaning. Mine features a hearts (charity)...and anchors (hope)...keys...signifying education and wisdom when worked in gold beads. Keys are also associated with Martha, the patroness of housewives, and symbolize the housewife's keys to storage cupboards and to the house itself.

My necklace is sewn together at the end.

At first necklace appears to be black and white...but it is actually a very deep brown and white. (I think.)

After reading the article I could not help but wonder how in the world these treasures were electricity for good lighting! How did this wonderful piece of history survive for nearly 200 years? What was she like? The young girl who put so much love into placing each bead! I feel so honored to own such a piece of history! I think that if she were around today...she would be thrilled to see her artwork on the internet for all the world to see! I imagine that she would be texting all of her friends..."OMG.... "

No comments:

Post a Comment