Friday, August 19, 2011

Jewelry - Vesta Cases

When I lived in Seattle there was a cute accessories store called Fini located in the Inn at the Market complex that also houses Campagna restaurant and cafe.  I loved this store.  Lots of cute jewelry, hats, decorative items.  I purchased a necklace there that was unlike anything I'd ever seen before, and learned  that it was a reproduction vesta case, or vesta matchbox.  It is a 1 X 1 inch sterling silver repousse style flip-top case hung on 24 inch long double strand of seed pearls:

Per Wikipedia vesta cases were used to hold vestas, or short matches.  Vestas were introduced around 1830 and were in extensive use between 1890 and 1920 so that folks could light stoves and lanterns in the days before electricity.  As with any commonly used item, a wide variety of designs and materials were produced; however, they usually had an engraved area used to strike a match.

A search on ebay and google images provide lots of different examples of available vestas.  Many sterling silver cases with hallmarks are very reasonably priced at $100-150 or so, and I am tempted to purchase an authentic case and make a custom chain to wear with big wooly sweaters in the winter.

As for my lovely reproduction, I may remove it from its current pearl necklace and make another chain of semiprecious stones to add more color.

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