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Today I am sharing an image I have long since pondered about, but the subject remains outside my area of expertise.

The image is a cased tintype, 1/4 plate, in a leather case. The image is absolutely perfectly clear, but there is a significant amount of lint trapped between the glass, giving us the red flakes in my images.

Our sitter wears a dress of about 1856- She has a fantastic large medallion print on the dress, which features pagoda sleeves and sleeve jockeys. The bodice appears to be fitted with reveres. She wears black mitts. For all intents and purposes, there is nothing out of the ordinary about her clothing selection.


However, when we look at her neck, I find a necklace or other adornment that I just cannot place. It appears to be a metal bar with circles on each end, attached to ribbons or other fabric that ties on to her neck.  It does not fit in with traditional jewelry that was popular in this era.

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Now, I have posed this accessory to the facebook community, and have a few working theories, but no documentation for any of it as of yet.

-Example of Native American jewelry

-Example of South American jewelry

-Medical devise for goiters

-Locally made jewelry, or very isolated fashion trend

Anyone know what is actually is?

We also have some unknowns about the young lady- for instance, her age. She could easily be in the teenage set, which would make having her hair in braids (which is an assumption based on the image, and not necessarily what is going on back there). If she is an adult, and if her hair is in braids, it becomes an odd hair choice.

Also, her earrings are unknown. Drop earrings are dirt common mid-century, but are these standard earrings, or do they match the necklace? It can’t be told from the image.  If it weren’t for the necklace, I wouldn’t be giving a second look at her hair and earrings- I am just trying to make the necklace make sense!