Tuesday, February 22, 2011

my gem tintype obsession


The size is breathtaking, is it not? This is a REAL photograph, a gem tintype from the Civil War Era. I have recently become the proud owner of two, leather-bound, gem tintype albums positively BURSTING with these tiny treasures (well over a hundred!). And what do I intend to do with them? Turn them into jewelry, of course! What better way to honor our history than to make use of it again and give it new purpose and appreciation?

Gem tintypes, also known as "Bon Ton Tintypes", were made by using a modified lens structure, multiplying the image many times onto one sheet of metal. The lens looks like this:


They're really very similar to modern photo booths! As a much cheaper portrait alternative, the purchaser could walk away with many tiny portraits, rather than one or just a few. They were rarely any larger than a postage stamp... most are just under one inch long!


See how tiny!!! :)

Please share your thoughts and ideas on how I can incorporate these into jewelry and wearable pieces of history!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about framing the gems that are already in a brass ornate frame in new frames with a tiny ring and attaching many of them to a link bracelet as gem charms?