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Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
02-12-2018, 01:41 PM
Post: #1
Heart Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
I saw on the Library of Congress website that the seed pearl necklace and bracelets that Mary Todd Lincoln reportedly wore to the March 1861 Inaugural Ball was actually purchased from Tiffany’s in March of 1862. Does anyone know why the discrepancy in dates? Thank you.
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02-12-2018, 02:24 PM
Post: #2
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Keckley mentions the pearl jewelry as being worn at the Inaugural ball. Reports of the big 1862 ball also mention pearl jewelry. Then reports turn to mourning jewelry, and the pearl jewelry doesn't resurface until January 1865. My guess is they are going with the idea Lincoln bought it for her after Willie died, which is one of those stories that floats around. I don't know if there is any actual record of the purchase date or actual purchaser.
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02-12-2018, 07:38 PM
Post: #3
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
(02-12-2018 01:41 PM)Donna Wrote:  I saw on the Library of Congress website that the seed pearl necklace and bracelets that Mary Todd Lincoln reportedly wore to the March 1861 Inaugural Ball was actually purchased from Tiffany’s in March of 1862. Does anyone know why the discrepancy in dates? Thank you.

Surratt House had the inside man at the LOC who was responsible for that jewelry and would bring it out whenever we needed to impress folks on one of our bus tours. Unfortunately, he retired a few years back, and I don't know who is now in charge. The set is lovely, however.
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02-12-2018, 08:05 PM (This post was last modified: 02-12-2018 08:08 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #4
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
My humble guess - an error in filing or poor handwriting in Tiffany's records.

According to the Library of Congress, "Tiffany records indicate that President Abraham Lincoln purchased the items on April 28, 1862 in Manhattan. 'The pearl necklace sold for $180 and the two bracelets for $350...'"

However, according to the Lincoln Log Abraham Lincoln was evidently in DC, not Manhattan on April 28, 1862:
http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.asp...xtRnpjSGc9

According to Catherine Clinton (who refers to forum member Donna McCreary), Abraham Lincoln bought,
on the way to Washington, for Mary a 530$ six-piece seed-pearl parure to reward her for her faith in him. Maybe Donna knows more.

Here's a nice site on the items but not shedding light on the date issue:
https://www.internetstones.com/mary-todd...-ball.html
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02-12-2018, 10:16 PM
Post: #5
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Perhaps April 1862 was when the bill was paid?
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02-12-2018, 11:09 PM
Post: #6
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
She definitely had pearl jewelry in 1861, so a delayed payment may well be the case, or it could be a different set. I'm inclined to believe Mary bought them for herself, or got permission from Lincoln to do so as a gift, as I have a really hard time seeing Lincoln actually picking out jewelry. I think that story has just been romanticized. However, it is possible that if they were indeed bought in 1861, Lincoln did tell her she could splurge in exchange for her support all those years.
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02-13-2018, 06:58 AM
Post: #7
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
(02-12-2018 11:09 PM)kerry Wrote:  as I have a really hard time seeing Lincoln actually picking out jewelry.


I, for one, agree.
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02-13-2018, 07:32 AM
Post: #8
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
I, too.
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02-26-2018, 09:51 AM (This post was last modified: 02-26-2018 09:52 AM by Donna.)
Post: #9
Rainbow RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Tiffany’s is well known for meticulous record-keeping. Isn’t it more reasonable to assume that the photographs pictured on the various websites depicting Mary’s supposed 1861 inaugural ball attire are simply being mistakenly misrepresented, as the passage of time tends to blur the facts and allow such myths to gain traction? This is clearly the case with the white dress(es) that are associated with the aforementioned jewelry. Mary’s first inaugural ball gown was incontrovertibly blue in color, yet most websites have discarded this truth in favor of one of three possible white dresses. Additionally, it is known that Mathew Brady used pre-printed photographic card stock dated 1861 when producing carte-de-visites of Mary in 1862 and possibly 1863.
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02-26-2018, 07:36 PM
Post: #10
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Years ago, I saw the historic records of the old Galt Bros. Jewelers in D.C., and Mr. Lincoln did do some purchasing of jewelry through them. While I have a hard time imagining him doing such purchasing, I also think that - if he knew what was good for him when he got home - a little surprise for the missus now and then would be in character. Anyone who could have "Love is Eternal" engraved in the wedding band that he slipped on his bride's finger had to have a soft spot somewhere (other than for kids and animals).
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02-27-2018, 03:22 PM (This post was last modified: 02-27-2018 03:23 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #11
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
A good point Laurie.
Maybe however Mary purchased and he just paid the bills?
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02-27-2018, 07:00 PM
Post: #12
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Galt was one of her creditors after Lincoln's death.
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02-27-2018, 07:01 PM
Post: #13
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
(02-27-2018 03:22 PM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  A good point Laurie.
Maybe however Mary purchased and he just paid the bills?

For some reason, I think I remember seeing the A Lincoln signature on those ledger pages from Galt. The company went out of business over a decade ago, and I never heard what happened to their records.
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02-27-2018, 08:29 PM
Post: #14
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
My guess is that Mary picked out the set during her New York shopping trip in January 1861, or that she and Abraham picked it out together when they were in New York in February 1861, and that Lincoln paid for them in 1862.
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03-02-2018, 02:05 PM
Post: #15
RE: Seed Pearl Necklace and Bracelets
Lincoln did purchase jewelry for Mary, including the Tiffany Seed Pearl parure worn at the inaugural ball in 1861. She wore this set several times as is documented in photographs. Lincoln also purchased a diamond ring for Mary and a beautiful heart-shaped diamond necklace as gifts.
There is some information in FASHIONABLE FIRST LADY about the Tiffany set.
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