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While her husband was president, Martha Washington understood her role as a national figure and the meaning conveyed by her personal appearance. This seed pearl pin was likely one of the "pearl pins and earrings for Mrs. Washington" purchased from New York jeweler Mr. M. Roberts on December 5, 1789. Seed pearl jewelry achieved great popularity in federal America. Mrs. Washington's choice of the dove-shaped pin may have been a declaration of her hope for the future peace and prosperity of the new nation.

Description

Bird-form pin composed of seed pearls affixed to a three piece, mother-of-pearl backing; seed pearls outline the form of the body and wings of the bird and fill in the upper half of the wings; eight pearls in graduated sizes, each encircled by smaller seed pearls, are mounted along the body of the bird, with the largest pearl at the tail and the smallest at the head; a silver crescent shaped bar supports the wings on the back of the bird; a silver-gilt pin clasp is mounted vertically along the body of the bird on its back.

Date

c. 1789


Geography


Material/Technique

Pearl, mother of pearl, silver


Dimensions

Overall: 1 3/4 in. x 2 1/2 in. (4.45 cm x 6.35 cm)


Credit Line

Given in memory of Lucy Ware Lewis McCormick, 1946


Object Number

W-1444/A


Colors (Beta)


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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