United States. 1896. A musical form called Ragtime is born.
Gold is discovered in the Klondike. William McKinley defeats
William Jennings Bryan in the race for the presidency. And in
Paris, France…while all this is happening…a small interior
decorating shop opens its doors to the general public. It carries
within its walls many of the decorative arts of the
day…including jewelry. The name of the shop…quaintly
enough…was: “Maison de l’Art Nouveau.” And it was from the
name of this shop that the Art Nouveau jewelry movement which
dominated the 1800’s and the 1900’s derived its name.
Southern Asia. Circa 2000 B.C. Decorative, jewelry-like disks
begin to adorn men’s and women’s clothing. In today’s
lingo…they’re called buttons. For roughly 3500 years…they
remain purely ornamental. Things progressed. The Greeks and the
Romans used them to decorate their tunics. Nowhere during that
time when the great mythological gods visited the earth and the
birth of civilization lifted its head…nowhere is there a record
of a tailor getting the brilliant idea of using a button…in
conjunction with a buttonhole…as a fastener for clothing.
Button jewelry started out as seashells sewn on to clothing. But
it quickly progressed. Everybody wanted a button. Get yer buttons
ladies and gents. For you and you…oh members of the hoi
polloi…a seashell to enhance that pretty garment. And for
you…oh princess…oh noble one…oh most revered of beauteous
people with your purses heavily laden with coin of the
realm…for you…this pretty little button…in gold if you
will… encrusted with diamonds…and rubies…and who knows what
more? Which brings me…by mere coincidence…to some buttons
that could have been made in the 17th century. Date of origin is
not exactly clear.
Ruby and diamond floral disks…worn by men before the use of
bottonholes. However…before I show you a sample of one of these
buttons…how many of you would like to know why men button from
right to left and women button from left to right. By a show of
hands…okay…you talked me into it. It’s not jewelry…but it’s
fun. Man’s function was to go off to war and slay the enemy.
Most men were right handed. So…using their right hand while
quickly dressing in the field…the buttoned from left to right.
It was easier that way. Women…on the other hand…had servants
to do the job. Servants…also being mostly right handed…faced
the garment head-on and buttoned from right to left as a mirror
reversal. That said…let’s get to the graphic.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may
I direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you
will scroll down the table menu till you get to the box that
says Tidbits…and inside the box where it says Tidbit
Graphics…click on the link that says: Button…where you will
see a rendering of our diamond and ruby disk.
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
TYLER-ADAM CORP.–Jewelry Manufacturers
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