Wax Fobs, A New Obsession

Dec 23, 2009

I am an eBay fiend.  I buy, I sell, I search endlessly for that must-have, well-priced miracle find.  Sometimes, I have no agenda and other times, I become obsessed by one item and search for weeks, months or years looking for it.  

Recent obsessions include vintage capes, camphor glass rings and compass pendant necklaces.  But this weekend, while stranded thanks to the snow, I began nursing a new quest in search of a vintage wax seal fob.  What is a wax seal fob, you ask?  

In the olden days when people wrote letters and cared about civility, pre-folded envelopes did not exist.  Instead, correspondence were folded methodically and sealed with bits of wax.  Often, the hot wax was sealed using a fob engraved with their monogram, their family crest or whatever design they chose.  And these fobs were often worn around the neck on chains.

The first fob that I found looked quite promising indeed.  The fob itself is very ornate gilt brass with a turquoise stone and intricate carving.  The glass seal is two cherubs surrounded with a religious slogan, “Rather Die Than Change.”  It was made in England in the early 1800s.  I really enjoy this piece, but it’s $600 price is beyond what I am willing to pay.

This fob is exactly what I am looking for.  The design is simpler than the previous fob but still delightfully pretty.  The black glass seal (called an intaglio) is also beautiful featuring the head of a Greek warrior.  The fob is from the mid-1800s and features it’s original black cord.  Sadly it’s sold out of Wicked Darling’s Etsy store. Foiled again!

If I don’t find a pendant that I like, I’ll simply buy another fob and have it turned into a pendant.  EBay has a great selection of fobs, and you can find them in most antique stores and vintage shops.  Hopefully, I can one on my trip home or while searching around the District.

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