|Description: An intaglio base metal spinner fob. A brown and beige stone intaglio carving depicting the side profile and shoulder of a warrior wearing a helmet and carrying a shield is set in an oval tablet of glass imitating tortoise shell. The ring is attached at two sides to a half oval metal piece that extends into a narrow bale with a circle at the end. The bale has one central column in the centre and two foliated curved pieces on either side. The circle is also in a foliated style. The image is not precise or very detailed. |
Glyptics is the art of carving on semiprecious stones. Intaglios are gems with an incised ( negative) design and are the opposite of cameos. Intaglios were made as early the 3rd millennia B.C in Mesopotamia and the Aegean Islands. They were particularly popular in Ancient Greece and Rome and again in the 18th and 19th centuries during the classical revival period sparked by archeological discoveries such as Pompeii. Intaglios are used in making seals, where it leaves a raised pattern on the material being stamped such as wax. Seal rings or pendants were the most popular.
Watches were originally been carried on a chain around the neck. When they got smaller they were held in pockets called "fobs" in breeches. Changing clothing styles led to fob pockets being moved from the trouser to the waistcoat or vest. Pocket watches were now held in the vest pocket with the chain hanging out so the watch could be easily removed. Pocket watches and accessories reached the height of their popularity in the 19th century. Watch chains were now called "fobs" themselves. A balancing weight was added to the bottom of the chain to keep it from tangling. This weight was commonly a small personal seal. These seals eventually became known as a "fob" as well. Other parts of watch chains included fasteners to attach the chain to the vest to keep the watch from falling. Prince Albert brought the "Albert chain" into popularity which had a secondary decorative chain which draped across the vest from a button hole to the pocket. Watch chains could be made from metal, cloth or in the Victorian times hair. Along with the seal fob other useful tools like watch keys, whistles, cigar cutters, stamp boxes, monocles, compasses and magnifying glasses were attached. Various charms and personal mementos like a family shield could also be found attached to watch chains. http://reviews.ebay.com/Victorian-Pocket-Watch-Chains-andFobs_W0QQugidZ10000000004629700
These items were donated by Barbara Sayers Larson, the granddaughter of Arthur and Mary Harris of Benares. These items of jewellery are pieces handed down to her as gifts and through inheritances. The exact provenance of each piece is unknown as much of the jewellery in the Harris family came from Captain Harrises relatives in Scotland. The pieces may have also been passed down through Mary Magrath Harris or the Draper family who were connected to the Harrises through the marriage of Annie Harris to Beverly Sayers.