Dag Jewelery



VEJEWELRY    Terms of Sale

MY SAVIOR! Irene Navarro attended a Daguerreian Society trade fair in DC and was introduced to me via email a week later. I answered a question about a piece of Daguerreian jewelry she sent to me in a scan. I shared this magnificent gem that Carol, my wife, had worn during the DC soiree. Irene has introduced herself thusly: "I'm a jewelry specialist with Tudor Place, a historic house museum located in Georgetown. Tudor Place was owned by a grand-daughter of Martha Washington (Martha Custis Peter) and six generations of the Peter family resided there." Then she minutely told me about this very early piece I am offering for sale. "I too, have not seen one like it. The faux diamond surround is most likely paste, glass with a high lead content that increased its reflectivity. First developed in the late 17th century, it was used through-out the 18th and 19th century, and was originally not considered imitation or "faux" but was valued as a separate form unto itself. Paste enabled a jeweler to create stones to fit a mount rather than having to create the mount to fit the stone. This development freed the jeweler to give wing to creativity that had been previously hampered by technical constraints. The most beautiful examples are those of the 18th century. The paste stones appear to be set in collet settings (a simple rim of metal surrounding the stone). Alternatively, they may be set in "cut down" settings (the ancestor of the modern prong setting- still employing collets but with small dots of metal extending from the collet and onto the stone). I can't determine this from a scan. The stones are also set into "closed back" mounts where the metal completely covers the back of the stone and does not allow light to penetrate. To enhance the reflectivity of stones in closed back settings, the stones were sometimes "foiled," tiny bits of foil were inserted behind the stones when mounted. Again, I cannot determine this from a scan. Even with an actual piece before one, it's sometimes difficult to determine if foiling is present." I had suggested to Irene that the pair of dags, each about the size of my thumbnail, certainly look like (to me) that they were taken in the first couple of years the art was being practiced. The gent on the front has not been touched; however I believe that someone years ago opened the hinged reverse’s teeny compartment containing two tiny coils of different colored hair and the gal's dag. She might have been cleaned at the time. Someone remarked to me that the presentation was "exquisitely beautiful"!

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at