Children's Jewelry: Rings

Figure 1.--Here is a tintype measuring 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" (1/6 plate) with black lacquer on back. Some references were made 1/6 plates were made during 1860-65. The image is not very clear, but the boy seems to be wearing a cut-away jacket and ruffled collar. These are consistent with the 1860s. Notice the rings both children are wearing. They are probably gold rings, perhaps from California gold. The children sre posed rather like an 1850s Daguerreotype.

Rings are a major jewlry item. Rings are a gender neutral jewlry item, although gender may affect ring styles. Most children did not wear rings, in part because they had a tendency to lose them. We do not have a sufficent archive to assess ring trends. A oroblem here is that the child had to hold their hand in a certain way for the ring to show. A good example is an unidentified American girl holding her hnd on a table so her ring can be seen. Thus we can not see if they are wearing rings or not. The photographic record soes suggest that rings were not very common for either boys or girls, but we are unable to make any valid assessment of trends. We are not yet sure of age, chronology, country, gender, and social class trends associated with rings. We notice a few boys wearing gold rings in the 19th century. It seems to have been more common at mid-century thsn the end of the century. The boy here with his dister is a good example. It does not seem to have been very common. An example is Bert Dodge in the 1880s. Another is an unidentified American by about 1890. We note B. Curtis Sunderland, am American boy about 1900. We tend to see rings more in younger boys than school-age boys, but we can not yet confirm as trend. We also asre not sure if the boys were only given the rings for special occassions or wre them for everyday. The ones we have seen in the 19th century seem tonbe mostly simple bands, prew\sumably gold. One HBC contributor reports that onyx rings were popular in the 1960s. Most American boys in their senior year og highschool began wearing class rings. Another interesting question is what finger on which the rings were worn. We notice an unidentified American boy wearing a plain ring about 1930. He is wearing it on the third finger of his left hand.


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Created: 8:07 PM 9/14/20084
Last updated: 6:54 AM 6/26/2010