treasure, but also guillotines
July 17, 2019 7:48 AM   Subscribe

60 carats of meteorite-made glass. Guillotine signet rings. Bejeweled fox heads. Victorian crystal pendants with "a Westie who apparently was just caught pooping in a shoe." All these and more in Dearest, a newsletter by Monica McLaughlin on unusual antique and estate jewelry.

Eager for more from the author?
  • A treasure trove of her columns on estate jewelry archived at the Hairpin

  • An interview with her in Collector's Weekly about totally normal jewelry like, y'know, brooches made from an actual real mounted hummingbird head and glass eyeball rings. See also, poison rings, coach drop earrings, hair jewelry, and so, so much more.

  • Advice from her on how to clean your jewelry, even if it doesn't feature emeralds from a lost Spanish galleon.

  • McLaughlin's twitter
  • See also this Metafilter thread.
    posted by joyceanmachine (13 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
    I loved those Hairpin columns but I didn't know about this newsletter - thank you!
    posted by showbiz_liz at 7:57 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    I’ve never worn jewelry before, but that ring
    posted by rodlymight at 8:06 AM on July 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

    I really wish this was anything other than a newsletter. I would follow it so fast on Instagram.
    posted by jacquilynne at 8:08 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    Oh my gosh, exactly the type of thing I spend hours poring over in antique shops, even though I don't wear jewelry like that. Love all the pieces!
    posted by xingcat at 8:16 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    There are other types of impact glass (or “impactite”), and their appearance differs according to the terrestrial material at the area of impact, so examples can range from yellow Libyan desert glass, to beautiful, bright green moldavite from the Czech Republic, to industrial diamonds in northern Siberia. There’s a good rundown here (, if you’re so inclined.

    Yes, yes I am so inclined, thanks!
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:54 AM on July 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

    Lots of fun, thank you for sharing!

    I’m forever drawn to jewelry that looks like candy.
    posted by dfm500 at 8:55 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    I love this. Such a great eye, she’s passionate and conveys what’s interesting to her in a really engaging writing style. Best of the web.

    Oh what I would give for some True Head of John the Baptist.
    posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:58 AM on July 17, 2019

    The perfume gun:

    A tiny bejeweled perfume gun! Seriously. Circa 1804-1808, it’s a miniature flintlock pistol automaton made of gold and enamel with split pearls, and lovely little cased panels on each side depicting a hare and a hound. It was made by Moulinié, Bautte & Ce. of Geneva, and the link gives you a little more background on Jean-François Bautte, who was referred to as the “generous grump” by his employees.

    The automaton mechanism sprays out perfume from a central gold rose when the hammer and trigger are struck. There’s also a watch concealed in the barrel of the gun, because of course there is.
    posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:03 AM on July 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

    I love this, and that pocket watch with the lizard for a hand! Never again will I be satisfied with a watch without lizard hands.

    Fascinating and beautiful, I hope she keeps it up.
    posted by stillnocturnal at 11:00 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

    Incredible, bookmarked. Thanks.
    posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:44 PM on July 17, 2019

    I don't think I ever wanted to subscribe to a newsletter more. So. Awesome.
    posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:43 PM on July 17, 2019

    The story of the "totally beat 1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe by Ghia" ("maybe $750k - $1m to buy, and then another $1m to restore") at the end of the first link was really interesting too!
    posted by of strange foe at 7:06 PM on July 17, 2019

    Would drive. As is.
    posted by ergomatic at 8:18 AM on July 18, 2019

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