A Necklace With a History: 1890

multicolour necklace 1890

1890 necklace of sapphire, zircon, tourmaline, amethyst, garnet https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2020/fine-jewels/gem-set-necklace-circa-1890

A NECKLACE WITH A STORY.

Gems From the Engagement Rings of Thirteen Rejected Suitors.

[New York World.]

Engagement bracelets and bangles, hoops tied with knots of ribbon (one color for each adorer), are now surpassed according to a late story by a diamond necklace with a strange history. This necklace, set with thirteen stones, was confidentially declared by the wearer to be composed of the stones from thirteen engagement rings which she had worn at different times. Through a fine regard for the feelings of the thirteen “rejected addressers” this delicate-minded young woman had had them reset, and wore them suspended about her beautiful neck…. It is to be hoped for the sake of fair young womanhood that these “engagements” were like those in vogue at one time in Washington—simply a mutual arrangement by which a young man became for a certain time the acknowledged escort of a young belle, to whose service he felt himself bound, and to whom he furnished bouquets and bon-bons in return for the pleasure of taking her to receptions. In this frivolous but harmless kind of an engagements a young beauty of my acquaintance figured sixteen times, marrying at the end of her second season an army officer of culture and high rank. But she did not accept diamond rings or other valuable gifts from her soi-disant lovers.

The Enquirer [Cincinnati OH] 20 September 1890: p. 13

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Such ladies who trifled with the honest affections of gentlemen were shockingly common:

Emily: What are you crying over, dear?

Julia: Longfellow’s Evangeline! It makes me sad that women don’t appreciate love and constancy as they should.

(Servant enters with cards.)

Julia (after reading them): Chollie Jones and Freddie de Browne. Oh, how lovely! Come down with me and help in the fun. I am engaged to both of them.

Pittsburgh [PA] Dispatch 4 February 1889: p. 4

The old man laid down his newspaper. “My child,” he said to the fair girl in sables who had just come in, her cheeks pink and her eyes shining from the frosty air: “My child, I am unspeakably shocked and grieved. Your mother informs me you are engaged to five young men at once.” But. his daughter laughed and patted his shoulder in reassuring fashion.

“Dear old stupid dad, it’s all right,” she said. “They are football players, and at the end of the season I shall wed the survivor.”

“Oh,” said the father, and, his brow clearing, he resumed his reading.

Nelson [NZ] Evening Mail, 15 February 1908: p. 2

A young woman of Indiana keeps twenty seven engagement rings hung up in her boudoir, the spoils of five years.

Pittsburgh [PA] Weekly Gazette 25 January 1870: p. 1

First Ingenuous Maiden: “How do you like my engagement ring?”

Second Ingenuous Maiden. “Oh, it is the prettiest one you have had!” Tit-Bits.

Logansport [PA] Pharos-Tribune 21 January 1922: p. 4

The Summer girl was a particular offender:

“I have been engaged several times,” boasted the first summer girl, “to men whose names I did not know.”

“That’s nothing,” retorted the second summer girl. “I engaged myself last season to a stager [person of experience/ man of the world]who sig-wagged his proposal from a passing yacht.”

The Alamogordo [MN] News 28 July 1910: p. 7

This morning I was pouring out my lamentation to a young girl, the younger sister of a dear friend. She is at least seventeen, and rather beyond the kitten love period, but I thought it would do no harm to let her know the truth about this imitation of the noble passion by little chits. She quite agreed with me, she said, and then she went on:

“But I have a confession to make, Clara,” said she; “I am in a frightfully awful situation. You see I am engaged to be married in New York, and when I came up here I got engaged to a young fellow up here, you know, just for fun. He is rich, you know, and quite distinguished in appearance, but it wasn’t that which made me let him engage himself to me, so much as that all the other girls, that is, the nice girls, were head over heels after him. It was so pleasant to cut them out. Now, you see, I had done the same thing last summer. I was engaged to the same young gentleman in New York then (really engaged, you know) and I got engaged up here”

“For mercy’s sake!” I exclaimed; “what sort of a story are you telling me?”

“Why, it’s quite customary, Clara; that is, among girls of any life at all. You get engaged up here because it’s better all around. You select a

REALLY NICE, PROPER YOUNG MAN,

And you are both devoted to one another, and it takes up all your spare time; and then a parting you manage to quarrel (It’s quite easy to do it) and off he goes to Chicago or New Orleans, and you go home to your real beau. Well, as I was going to say, I managed it beautifully last season—quarreled all right, and never heard any more about it. But this year things are going to be different. I am in an awful scrape. This young man is a Southerner and he talks of shooting anybody that looks at me and of killing himself if I reject him, and oh, my! Oh, my! I can see that I’ll never, never be able to get rid of him.”

I did not sympathize with her. I might have suggested that she write to her New York young man to attend a shooting gallery and take lessons preparatory to an encounter with the Southerner, but I did not think it just exactly a fit subject for joking. But I am only telling you what success attended my effort to get away from the scourge of the summer resorts. To make it very short, it is just simply no success at all. Why, I strolled into the pretty and ancient grave-yard just at the edge of the village, and if there were not at least six couples tucked away on the grave-stones in the by-paths, and all courting at one hundred pounds pressure, I am no correspondent of yours.

Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 5 September 1886:p. 9

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdote

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

 

6 thoughts on “A Necklace With a History: 1890

  1. heidiheidiheidiheidi

    This is deliciously day brightening. Have you ever read the 19th century short story “The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde?” She turns her spurned suitors into beads on her necklace!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. chriswoodyard Post author

      There was a tradition of “Summer Girls”–those who spent the summer at pleasure resorts–to become “engaged,” under the influence of moonlight and lax chaperonage. This was the equivalent of “going steady,” as was a custom in US high schools. It was tacitly understood that these were not actual betrothals leading to marriage, but a convenient way to guarantee an escort for a set time. The gentlemen did not usually ask for their rings back, hence the ring-collectors.
      It is now the custom to return the ring, which is seen in a more legalistic way as a symbol of a contract.
      Mrs Daffodil is moved to exclaim, “well-done, you!” But will merely remark that she hopes that the flinging of said ring gave ample satisfaction.
      Best wishes,
      Mrs Daffodil

      Like

      Reply

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