This pendant was donated to our collection in 1949. It is a pendant, a brooch and a locket all-in-one. At the center is an oval hand-painted miniature of a woman wearing a long pink dress surrounded by pink stones in a brass setting. One stone is missing.
A bail connector with three stones is attached on top and a smaller element with two stones hangs on the bottom. The pendant opens in the back to reveal a locket with a glass cover on a hinge. The pin and the hinge of the brooch are missing, but a “C” catch is still attached. No hallmarks or markings are visible to identify the maker. The pendant was made around 1860-1890.
The 19th century was an exciting time for jewelry designers. The period was known for eclectic styles that included Greek, Roman, Gothic and Renaissance motifs as well as designs influenced by archeological discoveries. Industrialization and access to new materials changed the way jewelry was used and perceived. Before then women wore jewels made of precious and semiprecious materials that suggested their standing in society.
Mass production techniques and the use of non-precious materials like mirrored-back glass, paste, jet, and enamel as well as the use of iron, steel and brass and the invention of silver-plating made jewelry more available and affordable.
In 1892, Austrian jeweler Daniel Swarovski perfected the production of rhinestones using a revolutionary glass-cutting machine that imitated the luster of any gemstone. They were inexpensive to produce and satisfied the growing appetite of the middle class for fine jewelry.
Background Image: Lizzie (Davies) nee Griffith. PCM Collection.
The pendant was donated by Guy L. Gilchrist (1891-1987) and his wife Adeline (1897-1963). Guy Gilchrist was an oil executive. He was the president of the Placer Union High School District board of trustees and a member of the board of trustees of DeWitt State Hospital. His wife Adeline was the president of the Placer County Historical Society in the 1950s. Both were dedicated to preserving history and worked on placing historical markers throughout Placer County.
The Gilchrists also donated the mustache cup in our collection. (Link Below)
Background Image: Guy Gilchrist (center bottom row) Golden Drift Historical Society Collection. PCM Collection.