By Danielle Olivia Tefft
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and your friends and family have a marvelous and safe celebration. As always, I have lots to be thankful for. If you believe that every day is a gift from God, there is always much to be thankful for, starting with the gift of each new day!
I wonder if the Pilgrims looked upon life this way. They suffered so much and endured so much to establish themselves in America. I wonder if they thought they could make it when they landed at Plymouth Rock on that frigid cold day in November of 1620. Half of them died on the journey over. I have visions of women praying as they clutched crosses against their chests. But did they wear crosses? How about jewelry in general?
The answer is no. Pilgrims believed self-adornment was ungodly. Now, there were skilled tradesmen and others who made the journey along with the Pilgrims who were not part of their faith. Undoubtedly, some of these fellow travelers wore jewelry-perhaps even devotional crosses. After all, the example and unwritten approval for wearing jewelry came right from the English throne. The King of England at the time, King James I (who was also King James VI of Scotland) always wore lavish jewels. His wife, Queen Anne of Denmark was also extremely self-indulgent when it came to jewelry and adornment.
But the pilgrims did not believe in adornment of any kind. They had a stricter admonishment against jewelry than even the Puritans. Puritan women were allowed to wear strings of pearls in their hair and other adornments on special occasions. Not Pilgrim women. The Pilgrims actually separated from the Puritans because they did not even think the Puritans followed the Bible and Christ's teachings closely enough. The only adornment a Pilgrim woman could wear was a lace collar.
In my research, I came upon two other interesting facts about Pilgrim attire. First, the grade school picture we all have of Pilgrims wearing big shiny metal buckles on their hats, belts and shoes is simply not accurate. Not only would buckles have been considered adornments, but that style of dress with buckles wasn't even fashionable when the Pilgrims came to America. Wealthy gentlemen in the later part of the 17th century wore such buckles. Poor people held up their pants and tied their shoes with string and ribbon as the Pilgrims did back in 1620.
Second, the Pilgrims wore more than just black and white clothing. Examination of wills and other documentation reveals clothing could be any number of colors. Lilac, green, red, blue and yellow clothing was commonly worn and bequeathed.
The Historic Present: Pilgrims V. Puritans; Who Landed In Plymouth? http://thehistoricpresent.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/pilgrims-v-puritans-who-landed-in-plymouth/
Todayifoundout.com: The Pilgrims Didn't Wear All Black And White Clothing With Buckled Top Hats by Daven Hiskey, http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/11/the-pilgrims-didnt-wear-all-black-and-white-clothing-with-buckled-top-hats/
I hope you enjoyed this look back in time for Thanksgiving. Let me know in the comments section and please subscribe to this blog if you enjoy jewelry and jewelry history as much as I do!
Danielle Olivia Tefft is a professional writer with a lifelong passion for gems, jewelry and fashion. She is a GIA accredited jewelry professional and the owner of online antique and vintage jewelry shop, Treasure Box Antiques. Current projects include ghostwriting jewelry and fashion blogs for clients worldwide. When she is not writing, she spends time in the garden, spoiling her cats and traveling with her significant other. Would you like to hire her to write for you? Visit her website danielleoliviatefftwrites.com for clips, terms and more information.
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The Found in the Jewelry Box Blog is my attempt to teach others about the wonderful world of gems and jewelry, past and present. Please enjoy!
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