You have no idea how sneaky secrets jewelry can be. Normally you wear your jewelry to draw a lot of attention and get all the compliments you need. But secrets jewelry is different. Very different.
Maybe some examples make clear what I mean with secrets jewelry since I am not even sure whether the term ‘secrets jewelry’ officially exists. Secrets jewelry is jewelry hiding little secrets, or jewelry you can sign your secrets with. Still abracadabra for you? I give one example…
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the medallion became popular. Looking from the outside it is a chain with a pendant hanging on that chain, sometimes called a locket. But I call it secrets jewelry because of what can be on the inside. You might have some small pictures of your husband and children in the locket. Or from your parents.
But it becomes a real piece of secrets jewelry when there is a picture of your secret lover in the locket. Ad nobody can see it, because the locket is closed! In this blog I will give you some examples of pieces of secrets jewelry, some are funny, some cunning, some naughty, and one is really dangerous. Welcome to the world of secrets jewelry.
A folded fan, #1 in signing secret language to a lover
Imagine…you live in a castle or a fancy bourgeois house and you are in your thirties. It is 1700 and after. You have not chosen your husband yourself and you are not married because you don’t love the guy, and try to escape from this ordeal. It is an arrangement between two families. Profitable for the families but not necessarily for you.
Quite often you are invited to a big party. Lots of guests attend. All dressed beautifully, with a lot of jewelry. Even your folded fan, which you use to get some fresh air is decorated with gemstones and ivory.
A nice guy
At the party, you meet a great guy, handsome, rich, and … unreachable. With all those people around you, there is no way to talk to him or make a date. But you are smart, very smart. And you find a way… using your folded fan. That folded fan turns into a piece of secrets jewelry, a device, or a jewel to send your secrets to the right guy.
Types of fans
There are two types of fans. A rigid fan that you use near a fireplace to protect your skin from getting red cheeks. Or from destroying your make-up, which is based on wax and melts when the heat is too much. You need to be close to the heat because the houses in those days are unheated and the only warmth is near a fireplace or in the kitchen.
The folded fan
The other type is the flexible fan that fits easily in a purse. This type of folded fan is made of ivory, bamboo, or rosewood. There are quite a few sticks made of the mentioned material and they come together. Between the sticks is silk, lace, feathers, or any other type of expensive material. You can fold that folded fan and close it again.
The flexible folded fans have a more or less wider piece in the front and at the back. And those pieces are highly decorated with gold or silver, gemstones, mother of pearl, and ivory. That is when you have a high position in society and can afford a piece of jewelry like that. A decorated and precious fan is also a great wedding gift or a present when you turn 21 years old.
Why you need a fan
You use a fan near the fireplace (although then you use mostly a rigid fan). But also to get some fresh air inside and outside. The clothing in those days for a lady is not very comfortable. It is fashionable to have a very small waist. Female aids help you every day to get into a waist cincher. That corset is a kind of torture device and you don’t get a lot of air since your lungs cannot operate normally. So the fan gives you some relief and fresh air.
Another reason to bring your fan along is not only to show off with your expensive and beautiful fan but also to talk with your lover secretly, it is a piece of secrets jewelry.
You give secret signals or get attention by the way you hold your fan in a certain position. For instance, when you press the fan against your right shoulder you let somebody know that you don’t like him or her. But when you touch your right eye with your fan you want a date as soon as possible. If you cover your eyes with the fan it is a sign you love him. And the most important sign (I guess) is pressing the fan against your left ear to let him know to keep his mouth shut about your advances.
In Ancient Greece, people use the hand fan since the 4th century BC. And in Christian Europe, there is a type of ceremonial fan to chase the insects away from the consecrated bread and wine during services. The use of the fan is absent in the Early Middle Ages.
Crusaders bring the highly decorated fans back home to Europe from the Middle East, And the trade companies bring them from Asia as a present for their wives. Especially in Spain, the fan is very popular by the flamingo dancers and the nobility.
Queen Elisabeth I
In the 17th century, the folded fan comes from Japan and gets popular with the royals and noble ladies. On a painting of Queen Elisabeth, she carries a folded fan decorated with pom-poms.
The people that use the folded and other fans the most – I think- are the Chinese. They have quite a long history of using this practical device. The fan is used by people of all Chinese classes, but in the end, it is a status symbol. To be more precise, it is an indicator of the status the user of a certain type of fan has.
For example, learned men use folded fans, but military strategists and Taoist priests like feather fans better. The circular fans are used by daughters of noblemen and ordinary people stick to the palm-leaf fans, or just the palm leaf itself.
The reason why every class used a different type of fan is not really clear. But we can explain why learned men and also artists loved the folded fan better. When those men wanted to show off a bit they wrote their newest poem or a small drawing on the folded fan of paper and used it as a present for their friends or a gesture for a lady they admired. This practice led to more decorated folded fans and the quality of the decoration improved.
So you could see in those days fans with the decoration of a poem, a small painting, but also calligraphy (which was an art in China) or an embroidered copy.
There is a popular story about a famous Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi (303-361). One day he walked in the park at the end of the Summer and he saw an old lady trying to sell some fans. But her business was slow since the temperature was not high enough needing to use a fan. She was upset because her livelihood depended on the sale of fans.
Mr. Wang Xizhi decided to help her out and wrote some characters on each fan and signed them. He told the lady to raise the price. And when the buyers saw that this lady sold fans calligraphed by the great master himself, she was sold out in no time. This master is regarded as one of the greatest calligraphers in history, so the buyers got value for money.
The decorative fans became very popular since the Tang Dynasty and later, and it became a unique genre in Chinese painting art.
Bamboo folded fans
The Chinese fans makers never stopped improving the fans and adding more types to the already large fan collection. After the folded paper fans a Chinese farmer from Sichuan Gong Juewu came up with a bamboo fan. Summers in Sichuan can be very hot and this farmer decided to use bamboo strips to make fans, also to augment his income.
First, he started with making bamboo strips and finding a way to keep the strips together. It had to look like a paper folding fan, but more sturdy. He succeeded in making the bamboo strip folded fans work – they were called the Gong fans- and the next step was to decorate them nicely.
He managed to decorate the two sides of the bamboo fans and make the strips thinner so that they looked more elegant. His fans were peach-shaped and had a width of about 20 centimeters. The handle was made of jade, ivory, or ox-bone. The decoration of flowers and landscapes on the fans was woven with bamboo, which makes these fans so beautiful.
Piece of secrets jewelry?
The big question is whether a fan is just a tool, a piece of jewelry, or a piece of secrets jewelry. My opinion is that at the beginning of the fan it may be used as a tool. But later on when the folded fans get decorated with precious metals gemstones and very expensive fabrics. And when the artists start painting them beautifully. It becomes a piece of jewelry. And when you use your fan to talk or give secret signs to your lover, then it really is a piece of secrets jewelry.
A fan in that time is not only a tool to get fresh air or a way to talk to your lover. But it is also a way to impress, feel beautiful, exchange secrets, and show off. Just like our ‘ordinary’ pieces of jewelry.
This was a clear example of secrets jewelry, but there are more:
Jewelry is an expression of emotion. An emotion like love, remembrance, or a happy memory. The designer of pieces of jewelry has emotions too. Sometimes serious, enthusiastic, or joking. In this blog post, I show you 5 little jewelry jokes. Jewelry jokes you don’t expect inexpensive jewelry, but they exist!
Little secrets jewelry jokes with time
Real sophisticated ladies, especially in times a bit longer ago, don’t look on their watch. It is impolite wanting to know the time. It looks like you are bored or want to go away. That is the reason that ladies in previous centuries don’t wear a watch.
But… they still want to know what is the time. Jewelers find a solution in beautiful pendants in the shape of an insect. When you spread its wings the watch is peeping out. Real secrets jewelry jokes, don’t you think. And unexpected secrets jewelry jokes.
Little erotic secrets jewelry jokes
At the beginning of the last centuries and the centuries before that people are more prudish than now. That is on the outside. The longing for sex is the same now as in centuries ago. Most men find a way to get ‘their way’, sneaky, nobody sees what they are doing. With the help of their jeweler. The jewelry designer added little jewelry jokes to this snuff box: a secret compartment to put a small photo or piece of hair of your secret lover!
Those rings have lids and under them are erotic pictures or carved erotic images made of bone. Beautiful craftsmanship and sneaky little jewelry jokes for the longing men.
Poisonous little secrets jewelry ‘jokes’
High trees catch a lot of wind. This is a Dutch phrase (literal translation) that means that when you have the power you have to accept a lot of opposition.
Powerful people, nobility, kings, and tsars are powerful and there is a chance that someone kidnaps them, they get caught or an enemy wants to blackmail or torture you. Sometimes there is a moment that you want to take your own life. And then the little jewelry jokes come in, like a ring with poison.
Jewelers anticipate that feeling by designing rings with a secret locker to put poison in. You can take that poison in times of emergency. I am not sure whether you can call these rings jewelry jokes, but it is anyway a function of that ring you don’t expect.
Little vengeful secrets jewelry jokes
Those same ‘poison’ rings are used by powerful ladies (or maybe men) that want to get rid of their opponent. One of the ways to do that is to give him or her poison. With a ‘poison’ ring you can put the poison easily in someone’s glass. No real jewelry jokes, no joke! But a great example of secrets jewelry. It was never the intention to get caught poisoning someone, so a great shhhhhh secret.
Maybe you know other examples of pieces of secrets jewelry. Do you own a piece of secrets jewelry? Let me know those examples. I like to know them, just out of curiosity.
Pieces of secrets jewelry is an unexpected subject of art. When I saw the ring with the poison for the first time I just imagined that you used the poison for someone and you forgot to clean that ring properly. You have a chance that you get poisoned or become ill because of the poison leftovers. Maybe a strange thought but still! And you have to keep that secret.
Not only to prevent being poisoned from your own ring but also to keep your jewelry clean, my e-book telling you all about the right way to store and clean your jewelry is a lifesaver. It is free of charge. Just let me know where I can send it to.
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