Other 13.03.2010

Ballarat Antique Fair: The Spoils of War

Finding decent mourning jewellery in Australia is becoming quite difficult and when one does find a nice piece, it’s usually got a few more zero’s on the end than a knowledgeable collector would like to reconcile with.

That was one of the unfortunate truths to the Ballarat Antique Fair, while there were some lovely things, I don’t mind taking the leap for something that I would be in love with, but logic and common sense remind me that I can find the same thing on eBay for a fraction of the price (sorry, dealers).

However, this bracelet stood out as one of the finer pieces of the show. I was on the lookout for brooches and rings (as usual), but what I found was what I had mostly seen last year, but with some generous mark-ups. Hailing from a Tasmanian antique dealer (quite a nice chap), I did a lap of the fair (see the other Ballarat post for that adventure) and purchased this before leaving.

This bracelet is a single weave, table-worked, four level hair bracelet. The clasp is gold and the interior is palatte-worked hair on milk-glass with wheat sheaf motifs in gold surrounding the interior hair.

As for its age, 1850-60 would be in the ballpark for this sort of piece, though similar examples exist in catalogues through to 1870. It’s in reasonably good condition for its age, the hair is still rather supple, though the milk-glass has some movement to it. No, I won’t be wearing it, I’ll simply treat it with all the love of my others. It’s unsigned, as well, with no dedication to a loved one.

All in all, I don’t recall another piece at the fair to set me on fire quite like this one, so in the end, it was a successful day!