Wednesday, February 9, 2011
There are specific types of jewelry that have historical significance as well as reflecting your own personal history. As one example, a charm bracelet, with its lifetime collection of charms can reveal quite a bit about you. Another type, which dates as far as the Victorian era, is the slide bracelet.
During the 19th century, women in England wore them as a fashion accessory. Since wrist watches were not created at that time, they wore heavy watches, often referred to as heavy hunting case watches, on a necklace. They added decorative “slides” to their chains which were placed under the watch that allowed them to shorten or lengthen the necklace by moving the slides up or down as well. Also, the slides prevented the watch from twisting and turning on the chain.
Women used to collect a variety of slides to match what they wore. Many of the slides were designed from old watch fobs that were engraved; others were set with gemstones and were very ornate. Other unique slides that were collected included stick pin heads that would be mounted on plain slides. Lucky for these ladies if there were a lot of men in their family who would give them their stick pins!
During the 1930’s, after the Victorian period, the watch slide became a very popular family heirloom. The 6-9 slides that were interchanged on a necklace were now being used to create a functional piece of jewelry; firstly as a time piece, but also as a fashionable bracelet. I am sure that most ladies never forgot to put on their watches, especially such exquisite pieces of wearable art. Very successful business men would reflect their affluence with the amount of jewelry that their wives wore and some ladies also wore slide bracelets on one arm and a watch slide on the other.
A slide bracelet is comprised of a double chain or cable bangle on to which a slide is placed. Slides have four drilled holes (two at both ends) so that the chain or cable can slide through. Many vintage slides had a small piece of cork placed within to hold it in place on the chain. Today, they are held in place with spacers such as beads that are placed between each slide.