Golden Tatting Shuttles

Golden Tatting Shuttles

Golden Tatting Shuttles

Now about that tatting shuttle made of gold. Only a few years ago I would not really have believed there had been shuttles actually cast in gold. I am well aware that there have been sterling silver shuttles, silver plated, gersilver and plain metal shuttles made for decades. Fancy shuttles with costly decorations are well known among knotting shuttles, too. But, gold? I thought not.

However, at a lace day not long ago I was shown a special shuttle. I was a bit shocked when the tatter reached into her brassiere and pulled it out. And then the glitter of gold and the sparkle of diamonds hit the light. Oh my goodness! A tatting shuttle made of gold and set with diamonds. I learned that this was all an example of making lemonade out of the lemons that life gives us sometimes. A tatter survived a divorce and deliberately re purposed her wedding rings and diamonds. What a lovely idea.

Recently, though, I learned of another tatting shuttle of gold. I was studying some info provided by Martha Ess from a French publication, "Madame de Pompadour" by Edmomd et Jule de Goncourt, Paris 1878,pg 419. This was a list of expenditures. On that list was:

"1753 4 Sept. Une navette d'or a moulures, avec des branchages emailles, portant des cornaline taillees en cerises, au retour de l'or d'une vielle, 570 l."

After several consultations with online translation tools, this is my best guess.

"4 Sept. 1753 A molded golden shuttle with enamelled branches bearing cherries of carved carnelian, and a back of old gold, 570 l."

OK. I admit it. I am impressed. I am so impressed that I will start looking for old gold bracelets, rings and pins to melt down for my own shuttle of gold.

There were more shuttles on Madame's list.

"1755 2 Mai Une navette d'acier damasquinee de 550 l"

2 May 1755 A shuttle of engraved damascened metal, 550 l.

And elsewhere was noted:

"...des bois chantournes et dores au vernis Martin d'une navette a frivolite, tout le beau et tout le joile... "

"...a very beautiful fretted and gilded wood tatting shuttle of the vernis Martin style..."

Ah something new to me. "Vernis Martin." Through further research I learned that this is a varnishing and veneering technique much like the Japanning technique. It was developed in the 1730's by the four Martin brothers in Paris. Both vernis Martin and japanning varnishing technique strove to reproduce the wonderfully glossy effect of Oriental lacquer work.

In the world of tatting shuttles, I see there is much more to learn.

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