Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Just Fob-tabulous!

For quite some time now, I've been fascinated with antique seals and watch fobs.  The use of seals can be dated back to the Old Testament, where it mentions that Jezebel used Ahab’s seal to counterfeit important documents.  

A very simple, spinning fob, this Victorian 15K Gold & Bloodstone fob offered by West & Son Jewelry
features a basic initial inscription, $219.14 USD.  I love the triangle shape of this bloodstone
with the lovely red flecks & deep green color.

Royalty and governments even used their own seal to affix to proclamations to give them an authoritative stamp of approval.  The first Great Seal of England was that of Edward the Confessor, the impressions of which can still be found.  During this time, almost everyone had their own seal.  While most people had just one seal, royalty would own several, including their Great Seal, as well as seals for all their courts and officials.  It was common practice to destroy the seal when its owner died, which is the reason so few original seals are still in existence today.

For all those snake charmers out there is this magnificent 18K Gold Coiled Snake & Uncarved Bloodstone
fob offered by CJ Antique Ltd., $375.  What I love about this one is the detail work on the
snake's face.  He almost looks like he's about to tempt you with an apple!

Official seals of the Crown were often handed over with great ceremony in medieval times.  The size and motif of the seal was a way of conveying an image depicting the status of the owner.  Early motifs were equestrian or heraldic in nature, or showed the owner in various pursuits like hunting or in battle.  William the Conqueror used an equestrian seal depicting him armed and ready for battle.

In medieval times, betrothals were prearranged – true words of love were secretly written and the envelope’s contents secured by a wax seal so that the recipient could be assured that their passion would be unknown to others.  How romantic is that?!  Communication before text message and sound bites.  The seals protected the writer's intent.


In keeping with my love of animals is this beautiful Greyhound (or Borzoi) 18K Gold & Uncarved Bloodstone fob
offered by Atelier de Montplaisir, $575.  The detail work on the dog's coat & collar are fabulously represented!

The first seal of the United States was created by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4, 1776 - immediately after the Declaration of Independence was signed.  Congress realized the necessity of such a seal for the newly established nation.  

This Pinchbeck Fob featuring a family crest of an Arm holding a stick offered
by Top-Banana-Tetbury has one of my favorite engravings, $112.38 USD.  I would love to see this
fabulous intaglio turned into a pendant!

The oldest object in the U.S. House of Representatives' Collection is also one of the smallest but the man who owned it was a giant figure in American history.  This tiny gold fob is a piece of red carnelian stone with George Washington’s coat of arms and initials carved into it.  Washington received the fob seal on September 18, 1794, the first anniversary of the laying of the Capitol cornerstone.  The date is engraved around the rim of the fob, along with Masonic symbols and the name of Washington’s home lodge “Alexandria Lodge No 22.”


One of Washington's fobs - notice the Masonic symbols.  A piece of American history!

Washington wore not one, but two, fob seals in many of his portraits.  Like most gentlemen of the late 1700s, Washington wore his fob seals prominently.  He owned two at his death. They hung from a short ribbon, which he used to pull his timepiece, attached at the other end, from a tight waistcoat pocket.  As men’s waistcoats grew shorter, fobs grew more popular and became an essential part of masculine dress.  Some men, like Washington, wore two fobs on their watch. 


This antique Victorian Lapis & Agat Watch Fob from Antique Jewelry NYC is stunning just for the amazing
color & unusual look, $1,850.  The reserves side has an amazing carving of a horse head within
the horseshoe which is completely stunning!

Nowadays, these antique fobs are making a comeback as a part of ladies fashion.  Their impressions set into sterling silver or gold and worn as pendant.  Other times, the fobs themselves are the jewelry worn in a grouping with other charms on a single chain.  Or, if the fobs is a substantial one, it is worn singularly.  I have also seen several as part of an amazing charm bracelet.

Also from CJ Antiques Ltd., is this adorable Georgian 18K & Enamel Urn fob, $585.
The detail work is fabulous & if you love mourning jewelry as I do then this is a perfect collector's piece!

For me, I'm still looking for the perfect fob with the perfect seal in it.  It's been quite a search!  I love the history of these practical jewels and am trying to locate just the right one to add to my jewelry box.  Until then, I'll keep admiring those in the collections of others and chasing down just the perfect one for myself!

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