Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sepia Saturday; Treasures from the grandmothers;

Reading glasses from my  grand mother. They might be from my great grand mother. I am not sure. Anyway, I treasure them and have  used them to do fine embroideries. The frames are silver and  yellow gold finely engraved or chased with a pattern. They fit perfectly and are very light.

Spectacles, or eye glasses as they are more commonly known today, have a rich history. As early as the 15th century, the wearing of spectacles gave the illusion of a strong intelligence among the blue-blooded nobility. By the 18th century, gentlemen wore spectacles to give the impression of intellect, although many did not know how to read.
The first spectacles made, known as 'Pince Nez', were generally of wood or leather with a center pivot and date to the 15th and 16th centuries. Old paintings and woodcuts show these types of glasses being worn. During the 17th and 18th century, the 'Nuremberg' type, made of a continuous copper wire frame with round lenses, became extremely popular due to their inexpensive price. All Pince Nez type of glasses are characterized by their lack of earpieces; they were formed to sit on the bridge of the nose. They remained popular through the 1930's under different patents and varieties.

In the 18th century, 'Temple' spectacles were invented, with arms fitted with rings, which allowed the temple pieces to be pressed against the head. They were also known as Wig spectacles as the arms were secured beneath the wigs of prominent men. Most of this type of spectacles had round lenses, although you can occasionally come upon rectangular or octagonal shapes. Bifocal lenses, usually attributed to being invented by Benjamin Franklin, also made their appearance during this period.

 The watch is silver. The back is engraved with a garland and her Initials. The back can be opened to put a small keepsake.  The front has big roman numerals and the hands are rose gold and intricately carved. I have never opened the back as it did not open and I was afraid I would damage the case if I forced it open. I wonder if there is a keepsake inside. I don't know how old this watch is, it might have been her mothers as well.

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Photos TS


  1. That's so nice that you can actually wear those spectacles and actually see well enough to do embroidery. Amazing.
    Love that beautiful watch face.
    Ladies of the Grove

  2. Some priceless items there. Very nice post and discussion of your valuables.

  3. Nice treasures! I think the fashion for glasses is same for male and female. Very round hehe...

  4. wow! very nice...looks valuable...thanks for sharing! and thanks for dropping my blog...much appreciated....great to be here!

  5. These are real treasure, I am sure they would have so many stories to tell.
    I found the information about glasses very interesting.

  6. Lovely items, I am amazed you can wear the spectacles, but how lovely to do so :)

  7. What lovely treasures to have :-)

  8. A lovely example of how objects can be sepia just as much as images can. Solid objects made of history.

  9. Just lovely! What pretty frames they have, too!

  10. i am especially fond of the watch. maybe you should bring it to a watchmaker with knowledge of such old pieces to have it opened.

  11. Makes me feel better wearing spectacles - not as pretty as yours though.

  12. Your special pieces are amazing! I love that you actually wear the spectacles, they look like a museum piece and they are so beautiful.