Birth - Baptism

French traditional jewellery - baptism


 

 


le retour de baptême, par Hubert Salentin, 1859

 

click on the photos to enlarge them in high resolution

 

 


baby medal, 1928 (200%)

The arrival of a baby in a family has always been a special moment.  Before the 20th century, the rate of neo-natal mortality was quite high and it was considered important to baptise the newborn as rapidly as possible. Before or during the ceremony, the immediate family and very often the god-mother or god-father would offer a small gift: a brooch for fixing the bib, a baby bracelet, a gold or silver medal, a silver beaker or possibly a silver rattle.

 

 


antique baby bib brooch,
silver, circa 1920


very rare pair of silver midwife's scissors
  (silver
has antiseptic properties and can be boiled
without rusting)

 

 

Antique baby cups or beakers

 

Old baby cups or beakers were always made of solid silver, because the malleability of silver permitted a very fine and light result, therefore easy for the baby to hold.  A baby cup in brass would be heavier and likely to turn green, while wood, glass or china would be broken within a few days.  The numerous dents one sees on antique cups show clearly how many times they fell to the ground.

Tulip shaped silver cups, with a shape similar to the 19th century loving cups illustrated on the mariage page of this site, but a bit shorter, are often found with 18th century hallmarks.  These are also mariage cups, as they would have been far too expensive to be given to children in the 18th century and they rarely have many dents.

Baby cups are still sold today to maintain the tradition, generally in silver plate.  Don´t buy them to offer as a baby gift!  Too heavy and not designed to be held easily by a baby´s hand, they are doomed to blacken in a cupboard.  Far better to offer a dozen bibs to the new parents, they'll never have enough!

 


  silver baby cup or beaker c1880

silver baby cup or beaker c1880

click on the photos to enlarge them in high resolution

 


  silver baby cup c1900

  silver baby cup engraved 1903

  silver baby beaker c1930

50%

 


antique silver baby cup


antique silver baby beaker


antique silver baby cup

50%

 

 


antique silver baby cup or beaker
 
antique silver baby-cup or beaker
 


antique silver baby cup or beaker

       50%

   

Antique baby rattles and teethers

 

The older teether/rattles, from the 18th century to the start of the 19th were often very finely worked, with little bells and with a handle of mother-of-pearl or coral, reputed to have protective effects for teething.  These elaborate rattles were not normally left with the baby but instead were worn by the nanny or the mother on a long chain around the neck and used to distract and amuse the baby when necessary.


The large ring in ivory or bone of the later rattles was designed to be chewed by the baby to help with teething.  Sometimes the baby was given a necklace of balls of ivory, amber, bone or horn with the same purpose. 

 

 

baby rattle / teether / whistle

in gold and coral, France circa 1810

 

 

     
  antique baby rattle, teether and whistle in silver with its chain, 18th century   18th century portrait of child with wooden baby rattle  


 

 

 


antique baby rattle/whistle
in silver with ivory teether


antique baby rattle/whistle
in silver with mother of pearl


baby rattle, whistle and teether in
silver and Celluloid, circa 1920

 

 


silver rattle/teether, brush and comb for baby

 

necklace made of horn

 

 


antique baby rattle
in silver and Galalith


antique baby rattle
in silver and Galalith


baby rattle and teether in silver
and Galalith, circa 1930

antique art nouveau baby
rattle in silver and Galalith


antique baby rattle teether
in silver and ivory

66%

 


pearl-set brooch in gold with stork motif

 


  baptismal medal
1935


diamand-set stork stick-pin,
worn by a proud father


     baby medal in gold

 

150%

 

        

silver christening medal engraved with the dates of baptism (25 Decembre 1869),
first holy communion (4 May 1882) and confirmation (12 May 1882)

click on the photos to enlarge them in high resolution

 

 

     
 medal for baptism, first communion and confirmation of Pauline Dupoirieux, bronze,
engraved 1845, 1857 & 1858, designed by Roquelay Desaide

click on photo to enlarge

 

 


 medal for baptism, first communion and confirmation, bronze, engraved 1858, 1870 & 1870
click on photo to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

silver baby service

 

Another traditional gift often offered for the baptism was a cutley set, more or less extensive.  At a minimum it would consist of a spoon and a fork, but one sees more complete services which have, in addition, a serviette ring, baby cup, plate, feeding spoon and an egg-cup with its spoon.  The feeding spoon, with its silver handle and ivory bowl (after 1900 generally in Celluloid) was often given at the birth of the first child and used later to feed the subsequent siblings.

A basic cutlery service comprising a spoon, fork and cup was required for entry into a boarding school and one frequently finds them engraved with the name of the child or some numbers for identification.

 

 

 

child's cutlery set

 

 

 


baby silver service with ivory hanfled saucepan, ivory porridge spoon and silver plate

 

 

child's cutlery set (75%)

 

 

Baby tooth jewellery

 

 

ring set with baby teeth


ring set with baby tooth

The first baby teeth to fall out were sometimes mounted in a ring or brooch and worn by the mother. 

These rings were often given or lent by the mother to a sister or friend having trouble conceiving, the belief being that the wearing of this ring would aid in conception (and that it was up to the woman to remedy the problem, not the man......)

 

 

 


 brooch set with baby's tooth


ring set with baby tooth


ring set with baby tooth


gold ring set with two baby teeth
 


gold ring set with two baby teeth

 


gold ring set with two baby teeth

 

 

 


pendant with
baby tooth


gold ring set with a baby tooth
 

 

 

                  
gold baby tooth rings

 

 


 gold brooch set with four baby teeth and diamonds


 


pendant set with a baby's tooth and a pearl, gold

 

 

 

 

For the baptism a medal in gold or silver was offered for the baby to wear around its neck during the ceremony and sometimes an angel or cross in ivory was suspended above the crib.

 

                    
christening medallions in gold, two with plique-à-jour enamel (150%)

 

 

 

 


christening medal in gold
 


guardian angel
medal in silver


baptismal medal in gold,
Saint John

150%

 

 

ivory angel for crib

 

 

 


ivory cross for crib

 


Galalith cross for crib

 


Galalith cross for crib

 

An ivory or Galalith cross without its suspension loop is not necessarily incomplete.  The loop was sold as an optional extra and many people preferred to avoid the extra expense and hang the cross directly on a pink or blue ribbon.  Galalith (or Erinoid in England), from the Greek gala - milk - and lithos - stone, was one of the first plastics made: it was created using milk casein and formaldehyde.

 

 


Ecotée cross in ivory for use during the christening ceremony and placing over the crib.
The workmanship of this cross is astonishing - imagine the effort required to sculpte and polish it all the while leaving the raised knots intact......
Gold écotée crosses, designed to look like unfinished wood, are typical of the Limousin region;
I don't know if the same is true of crib crosses as this is the first I've seen.

 

 

Baby bib brooches

 


gold baby bib brooch


gold brooches for fixing a baby's bib
one pink, one blue

 


gold baby brooch

 


gold baby bib brooch

200%

 


gold baby brooch (200%)



 


gold baby brooch

gold baby brooch


gold baby brooch

gold baby brooch

small baby brooches like these were offered to the mother and used to fix the baby's bib (200%)

 

 


rare baby bracelet in white enamelled gold (200%)

 

 


boxed silver egg-cup with its spoon in silver, mistletoe motif, Art Nouveau period

 

 

 


 

 

Contact me with your suggestions, corrections, photos, questions and comments!

 

table of contents

jewellery ring brooch set with baby teeth tooth, silver baby cup, silver baby beaker, baptism medal, birth medal, antique silver baby rattle, antique baby teether, baby bracelet, médaille bébé en or, médaille de baptême en or, timbale en argent, timbale de naissance, broche bébé, hochet en argent, hochet en argent et ivoire, croix en ivoire, croix de baptême en ivoire, angelot de berceau, angelot de baptême, cuillère à bouillie, ciseaux d'accoucheur en argent, ciseaux de sage-femme en argent, épingle à cigogne en or, bijou régional, bijoux régionaux, bijoux des régions de France, les bijoux traditionnels Français, bijoux et orfèvres en Haute-Normandie - collecting baby rattles and teethers par Marcia Hersey- Streeksieraden in Zeeland - traditional French jewellery jewelry, French regional jewellery - antique French jewellery - silver egg-cup - gold baby brooch- Brabantse klederdrachten en streeksieraden, le retour de baptême by Hubert Salentin

 

French traditional jewellery - baptism