Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[Tidbits] Interrobang!?

So I raise my hand in class the and teacher says: “Question Mark?”
Big laugh. And that form of punctuation is etched in my mind for all
time. But wait. This has more to do with jewelry than one might
think. The question is: What does this have to do with jewelry? And
the answer is: It has to do with a question mark. If you think I’m
being redundant here … fuggedaboudit.

Italy. 1942. Federico Pallavicini designs a piece of costume jewelry
in the form of a question mark. It’s a brooch. It is made of wire
and gilded cord with blue and pink threads. It is adorned with red
beads of glass … green crystal … and artificial pearls. Is it
gorgeous beyond all reason? Nah. Is it breathtakingly ugly? Nope.
But … in a time when costume jewelry was all the rage and even
Hollywood had taken this form of jewelry into it’s bosom … along
comes a paradigm for a Q and an O. Hunh?

Here’s the story as to how the question mark came into being. It’s
thought that it came from the Latin “questo” which means question and
which once was abbreviated as Qo … with the “Q” written above the
“o” … slowly evolving into the “?” form we know today. Scribble on
some paper … it works.

As to Interrobang … when you combine punctuation marks … as in:
He did what!? … or … He went where!? … that is called an

The brooch you are about to see gleans its worthiness of mention
because is was shown in the October issue of Bellaza in 1942 … and
because it puts to rest the haunting laughter of yesteryear when no
one really knew how interesting the question mark truly was.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says:
Interrobang … where you’ll see an image of a piece of costume
jewelry of yesteryear.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark