Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Earrings

Maker:
Tiffany & Co. (1837–present)
Date:
ca. 1856
Geography:
Made in New York, New York, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Oak and gold
Dimensions:
Earrings: 5/8 x 2 1/8 in. (1.6 x 5.4 cm)
Classification:
Jewelry
Credit Line:
Purchase, Susan and Jon Rotenstreich Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.231.2a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706
These earrings belong to a demi-parure that also includes a matching brooch. Wood from the “Charter Oak” tree is carved in relief with oak branches and acorns, and held in articulated gold dangle settings with twisted rope borders. A tiny acorn, carved-in-the-round, dangles from the bottom of each earring. Inscribed in ink on the reverse is “Original/Charter/Oak/Hartford/Conn.” The demi-parure retains its original leather-covered case with a pale green satin and velvet interior, marked in gold “TIFFANY & CO./550 Broadway 552/NEW YORK.”



Local Hartford, Connecticut, legend holds that the Connecticut Charter Oak received its name after being used as a successful hiding place for the colony’s charter in the 1680s, when King James II demanded the document be brought back to England. On August 21st, 1856, the old tree toppled during a severe storm, and an entrepreneurially-minded Charles L. Tiffany salvaged pieces of wood which he made into jewelry to sell as keepsakes to sentimental patriots. According to a note found inside the box, this set was originally owned by a woman who had lived near the Charter Oak as a child.
Inscription: [brooch: in ink on reverse]: Original / Charter / Oak / Hartford / Conn. [paper adhered to underside of case]: [describing history of the set].

Marking: [top of box in gold]: TIFFANY & CO / 550 · BROADWAY · 552 / NEW YORK.
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