Sunday, June 16, 2013

Something Old

It was the start of Winter and the rain didn't stop all day.   On a normal day, I would have found the cold weather, gray clouds and rain depressing. But not on this day.  

My grandmother told me that the rain was good luck.  I don't think that my (soon to be) husband would have agreed at the time.  Little did I know that he and my brother were walking down a country road, soaking wet, looking for a petrol station.  Their frantic gestures for a ride were being ignored. 

That was 22 years ago today.  Our wedding day.

Although we did not have a traditional wedding and instead opted for a small gathering of close family members, I did follow one tradition:
Something Old
Something New
Something Borrowed
Something Blue
And a sixpence in my shoe

My grandmother provided me with the "something old", being the oldest piece of jewellery (we spell it differently in Australia) that she owned; a hand carved cameo, pictured below.

Something old
My grandmother had told me that the cameo had previously belonged to her grandmother and it had been given to her as she was the first granddaughter.  She gave it to me on my wedding day, as I was her first granddaughter.  I shall pass the cameo to my first granddaughter.

Wearing the cameo on my wedding day
I now think my grandmother may have been confused about the tradition of passing the cameo to the first granddaughter as I have since located a photo showing my Grandmothers mother (not grandmother) wearing the same cameo.  Is it a coincidence that the cameo is being worn in a photo with the first grandchild (a boy) & great grandchild?

1960 - 4 generations
My Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Aunty & Cousin
My Great Grandmother, Mabel Pilgrim is wearing the cameo
Can anyone help me to identify the age of the cameo?  
It is one piece, hand carved into shell and not very pretty (sorry Gran).  The crown symbol is also stamped into the gold on the reverse.  The lady is facing left, which is considered rarer.  I haven't seen a cameo with the same hair style, although shorter hair is more likely 20th century?  
How would you describe the cameo's nose?  A long elegant nose indicates a date prior to 1850 (no I don't think so), an upturned nose became more popular in the mid 19th century and a "pert" nose appeared in the  early 20th century.   
It would be interesting to date the cameo.  Maybe not? The tradition of passing the cameo to the first granddaughter is so lovely, it would be a shame to disprove it.

You may also be interested in my prior post about wedding presents, which also features this cameo.

Click to see more jewellery related Sepia Saturday posts

33 comments:

  1. A real treasure from your family history. I hope you find the answers you want.

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    1. Thank you Liz.

      I haven't worn the cameo since as I am afraid of losing it.

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  2. I think my wife has a cameo somewhere. I shall have to check which way it is facing, Good luck with finding out its age.

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    1. Thank you Bob.
      I hope it is left facing :)

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  3. A lovely story of family treasures and the jewellery is beautiful.

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    1. The cameo is beautiful because of the significance but in reality it is a very ugly cameo!

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  4. Oh my these are such precious family treasures, as are your photos of it all. Very nice.

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    1. This has inspired me to write more about our wedding as there are a few more stories that the kids (future grandchildren) may be interested in.

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  5. So you are thinking that it was passed from mother to daughter and then to granddaughters? Still a lovely tradition.

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    1. It seems so. I think I shall pass to my granddaughter (if I am lucky enough to have one in future). My daughter will receive my grandmother's engagement ring in future.

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  6. I think Kristin is on to something. It seems illogical to skip a generation. But what do I know? It's a lovely pin and I'm glad you have it.

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    1. I agree that it doesn't make sense to skip a generation but my mother definitely never owned it.

      It is actually a necklace rather than a brooch/pin.

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    2. Yes, I see it's a necklace. I don't know what made me write "pin."

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  7. A lovely treasure, memory & post; I enjoyed reading it. I got married in 1994 & wore my Grandmothers wedding ring as my something old.

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    1. Lovely. Was your grandmother alive or was the ring passed down? How lovely to have a wedding ring as something old on your wedding day.

      I have told my husband and daughter that if anything happens to me, that they are to take my rings off.

      I can't see the sense in them being buried and lost. I would prefer that my daughter gets them.

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  8. I like this post ! I have always been fascinated to link some of my old photos to pieces of jewllry (never know how to spell it !!)that I have in some old jewellry boxes. One problem I have is that neither my wife or daughters are very much interested in trying to wear any, fashion dictates that much is very superfluous to modern day life, especially nice brooches etc which proliferate.

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    1. I don't wear the older jewellery that has sentimental value as I am too worried that it may be lost.

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  9. I am familiar with the "something old" custom but never heard the "sixpence in my shoe" line before.

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    1. My grandmother told me that one too. The sixpence should be given by the bride's father (and yes it came from my fathers collection). I can't remember the significance of each item but I believe that the sixpence represented not being short of money.

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    2. Postcardy has forgotten as it was so long ago but I used this saying in my post 'In Her Shoes'. Your own family traditions are far more interesting anyway.

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  10. Never heard of the sixpence in my shoe either, my wife certainly never had one in the shoe. Hope you can carry on the tradition.

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    1. Yes I hope that I have a granddaughter to pass the cameo to.

      I will also ensure that my husband gives my daughter a sixpence to put her her left shoe to carry on that tradition too.

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    2. Might have some of them at home.

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  11. You need to take it to something like an Antiques Roadshow.

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    1. Yes I have thought about taking it to be dated/valued when they the antique jewellery dealers come to the area.

      Normally they are wanting to buy items but the cameo is definitely not for sale.

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  12. I also think you should have it checked out by someone who knows. I love the cameo's setting. :-)

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    1. It is a lovely setting and yes I will need to pay attention when antique valuers come to the area next.

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  13. How wonderful to have something so precious handed down through the family.

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    1. And I was very happy to see a photo with my great grandmother wearing it too.

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  14. How precious the cameo was passed on with a story to tell....and that you plan to carry on the tradition. It would interesting to get an antique dealer's opinion on the date and value.

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    1. Thank you Sharon. Yes it is on my "to do" list to get it dated and valued.

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  15. I vaguely remember various superstitions about cameo,
    but I found this:
    "It is usually worn as jewelry but also works well as a lucky charm.
    A Cameo should be worn and loved for seven years for it to gain full effectiveness as a charm. After this time, it will continue to work as a lucky charm for successive generations of the same family."
    :)~
    HUGZ

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    1. That is so wonderful. As you can probably tell, I am very big on family tradition and superstition. This is fantastic. It seems that the lucky charm has worked for successive generations.
      Thank you very much :)

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