Do you have a piece of personalised jewellery? An engraved watch, a name chain or even your old school uniform with your name tag that went to the charity shop decades ago?
It is a wonderfully special way to make any gift feel that much more personal and thoughtful. I have a name chain that my mum bought for me when I was a child and I hope I will never have to part with!
So when you’re rummaging through vintage and antique jewellery and you find a piece that’s engraved it can give you quite a thrill – an immediate personal connection to the first person who owned that piece. Where there is a name or a face to add to the story of an item, it’s like being given a tangible link to the past, to someone’s life and loves, hopes and dreams though they may be long gone.
This, therefore, is one of my favourite items.
It is a gilt metal pendant by Coro, one of the most prolific American costume jewellery designers of the 20th century. Clearly marked with the Coro logo and the little flying Pegasus horse which marks it out as “Corocraft” made between 1938 and 1955. It is inset with dark blue and clear paste stones on a white enamel centre and looks like a highly elaborate flower.
But best of all, on the back is the inscription “Clarita Louis 20.12.53”.
So who was Clarita Louis? Is Louis her surname or a second fore-name like Sally Ann, for instance? Who gave it to her? The inscription doesn’t contain any words like “with love”, “from…”, “best wishes” or even “Merry Christmas” as it was only a few days away. Was it a Christmas gift, or perhaps a retirement present from her employer? Was she old or young?
Corocraft was one of the brands of Coro that was a slightly higher quality and also available in the UK and Europe so perhaps she wasn’t even American.
Clearly, this pendant was given 66 years ago so it is possible that Clarita is no longer with us. So what happened to her? Why did she part with such a lovely gift? Or did she?
Perhaps her relations gave it away after clearing out her possessions after her death, or perhaps it passed down through her family, daughters or nieces until it ended up on Ebay where I found it.
Or perhaps Clarita didn’t even like it, smiled nicely at the person and put it in a drawer to forget about it.
What do you think?
(If you would like to be the next custodian of Clarita's Pendant, you can find it here!