Friday, July 04, 2008

Silson’s 4th

After various, more somber 4th of July posts (here, for example), something lighter’s in order. There’s always time for splashing your feet in the backwaters and bayous of History.

You could call today’s post Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Jewelry.

“Glitzy” writes the Amazing Adornments blog. If Glitzy were writing this, you’d probably be able to find who really designed the brooch pictured above, which came up immediately when I Googled “Independence Day Pins.”

In a US patent (#D124416) granted 31 December 1941, Victor Silson portrayed a pin with the Declaration of Independence, Independence Hall, an inkwell and a goose quill pen:

Be it known that I, Victor Silson, a subject of the King of Great Britain, residing in the city of New York, county of New York, and State of New York, have invented a new, original, and ornamental Design for a Brooch or Similar Article…

The pen I mentioned is present in the Silson patent drawing; it’s missing from the pictured example.

I thought the timing was important (just after Pearl Harbor) until I started digging. Silson, it turns out, was a prolific 1930s-40s producer of brooches and pins, military and otherwise. He designed, patented and produced hundreds of brooches, including a handsome series of three locket-pins – one each for the Army, Navy and Air Force – and received patents for these, #D124114-116, in 1940.

The Army pin features a canteen in front of a crossed sword and musket. The locket is inside the canteen. The best views of these are at the N&N’s Vintage Costume Jewelry website.

It’s Silson’s name on the patents. But among vintage jewelry enthusiasts, William Spratling was a well-known Mexican silversmith who was employed by the Silson firm, a “very esteemed jewelry company.”

Glitzy, I’m curious: Is it Silson’s 4th of July design or Spratling’s?

I’ll drop a line to your blog and ask you straight out…I think there’s a neat story here somewhere. Happy 4th of July, y’all.

Photo courtesy of Amazing Adornments.

1 comment:

Glitzy said...

Dear Richard: Thank you for posting and for the kind words.

Thank you also for crediting my blog in your post on the Silson clip. You have written a great piece on the clip!

I am not sure if Spratling designed the piece. I know he did work for Silson, the famous owl comes to mind. I check the book A Tribute to America by Roberto and Carla Brunialti and there was no mention of Spratling. That does not mean he did not create the patriotic jewelry for Silson.

If you find further information please let us know!

Kind regards,

Carolyn [Glitzy]