When I was about 12 and living in Hinesville, GA (outside of Savannah), Gone With the Wind was my favorite book. I must have watched the movie first on TBS or TNT (I think Ted Turner loves the movie more than me!). Vivian Leigh captured my attention with her beauty and well, her beauty. She is stunning.
The costumes filled my imagination. The plantation life and depictions of places like Atlanta (where I had actually been) was magical to me living in the South. I thought I could find something of that Civil War era for myself.
The book was the thickest book I had ever tried to read at the time. It made me feel like such an adult to carry around the 3 inch paperback. I gobbled up every word, recreating each scene in my mind with Vivian and Clark as my Scarlett and Rhett. It was a special time of my youth. It made me appreciate the history, architecture and culture of the Low Country Georgia where I lived. I enjoyed just breathing in the air (when it didn't smell swampy) and pretending that it was the same air that so fueled Scarlett's ambition and drive.
Looking back something always stuck with me from the book. It's a detail that wasn't in the movie. When Scarlett returns from Atlanta to find her mother passed away, she thinks about her mother's diamond earbobs. That's exactly how they are described - earbobs. They are mentioned several times, including when a Yankee soldier tries to steal them, and when she considers using them to borrow money to save Tara.
Earbobs - I never heard of such a thing. Of course I took it to mean some sort of diamond earring, but I wanted to know what they looked like.
So now as an antique jewelry dealer, I still ask myself - what did those earrings look like?
This example is a pair of Old European cut diamond earrings from the early 1900s. They are gold mountings that hang from the ear, early buttercup settings. Something like this was what I envisioned as a child, however it probably is later in style than what she would have had.
These earrings are older in style, a 3 carat Old European cut diamond in a silver topped gold setting. I would like to think this is the size Scarlett O'Hara would have had in her family, but probably not. The older setting is probably more like what she had in her family. In reading parts of Gone With The Wind again, I am reminded that Scarlett's grandmother was French. She definitely had style!
Finally, this pair has two Old Cut diamonds hanging from the ear. The bottom stones are about 2.30 cts each. I think the setting for these earrings are also probably later than 1850s so also probably not what Scarlett would have worn. Still a pretty earring!
I had a lot of fun putting some thought into this Gone With the Wind project. As I researched the topic, I realized Margaret Mitchell actually put quite a few jeweled references into the book. Scarlett mentions gold rings she wore to the picnic, and her grandmother Robillard's heavy gold chain (Georgian chain perhaps) and black enamel bracelets (a pair of Victorian bracelets, surely). She also mentions a garnet suite and I think a sapphire engagement ring. Even Rhett says something about Scarlett's questionable choice in jewels.
My next post - a peak into Scarlett's jewelry box!