Thomas Hardy Accessorises

Stopped in my tracks when I read this list from Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873). I’d replicate the lot if jewellery was my craft. The Thomas Hardy collection. Although I doubt I could find any toadstone.

Hardy is a wonderful writer and this list is so beautifully descriptive of the character – Mrs Swancourt.

“She had held out to Elfride hands whose fingers were literally stiff with rings, signis auroque rigentes, like Helen’s robe. These rows of rings were not worn in vanity apparently. They were mostly antique and dull, though a few were the reverse.

RIGHT HAND
1st. Plainly set oval onyx, representing a devil’s head.
2nd. Green jasper intaglio, with red veins.
3rd. Entirely gold, bearing figure of a hideous griffin.
4th. A sea-green monster diamond, with small diamonds round it.
5th. Antique cornelian intaglio of dancing figure of a satyr.
6th. An angular band chased with dragons’ heads.
7th. A facetted carbuncle accompanied by ten little twinkling emeralds.

LEFT HAND
1st. A reddish-yellow toadstone.
2nd. A heavy ring enamelled in colours, and bearing a jacynth.
3rd. An amethystine sapphire.
4th. A polished ruby, surrounded by diamonds.
5th. The engraved ring of an abbess.
6th. A gloomy intaglio.

| Toadstone ring +Button-shaped fossil teeth of the fish Lepidotes (Toadstones) |

Julia Ritson

2 comments

  1. Somebody call Fiorina. Here’s her next collection. The facetted carbuncle made me laugh. Great list. I love lists. More lists please. :)

  2. The description of the rings, is an interesting detail, as it helps the reader to get a fair idea of the personality and superstitious beliefs of the Victorian lady

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