This memento mori ring (shown in four views), circa 1700, features a death’s-head skull, an hourglass, and a flower. The interior is engraved with “I am gone follow after” and the initials “AWI.” (The Hairpin, via RowanandRowan.com)
Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly
says: "If the phrase "estate jewelry' conjures images of fussy Victorian filigree necklaces or impossibly ostentatious diamond encrusted bling, you haven't seen the stuff Monica McLaughlin regularly finds for her Estate Jewelry column
at The Hairpin
. We spoke to Monica about how a comment she left on a Hairpin blog post proved the launching pad for her column, as well as her fascination with 19th-century jeweler Carlo Guiliano and Tiffany designer Paulding Farnham. Our interview also includes 25 examples of some of the most unusual pieces of estate jewelry McLaughlin has discovered, from a brooch made out of a real hummingbird head to a necklace-and-earrings set fashioned from actual tiger claws."
The Victorians were obsessed with natural history, so I get where they were coming from, but creating earrings and pins from the heads of hummingbirds is too much for me. They weren’t only used in jewelry, either: Feathers and entire taxidermied birds of all sorts were used extensively as hat decorations during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Millions of birds were slaughtered in North and South America and elsewhere to meet the demand. I saw an image on Twitter recently of an American hat from 1890 that’s in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a bonnet, and it has three green budgies just sort of stuck to it. The Met has a ton of other hats that also include birds, but in those, the birds are at least a little more artfully arranged so you can see the aesthetic thought behind them. But the budgie bonnet is just awful.
From Hummingbird Heads to Poison Rings: Indulging Our Antique Jewelry Obsession
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]