Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fortunes on Finger Ends

From: The Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel, 1 February 1904, page 3.
Queen of Siam Wears a Thimble Worth $75,000.
The costliest thimble in the world is undoubtedly one possessed by the queen of Siam. It was presented to her by her husband, the king, who had it made at a cost of rather more than £15,000.
This thimble is quite an exquisite work of art. It is made of pure gold, in the fashion or shape of a half opened lotus flower, the floral emblem of the royal house of Siam.
It is thickly studded with the most beautiful diamonds and other precious stones, which are so arranged as to form the name of the queen, together With the date of her marriage. She regards this thimble as one of her most precious possessions.
Not long since a Paris Jeweler made a most elaborate thimble to the order of a certain well-known American millionaire. It was somewhat larger than the ordinary size of thimbles, and the agreed price was £5000. The gold setting was scarcely visible so completely was it set with diamonds, rubles and pearls in artistic designs, the rubies showing the initials of the intended recipient.
This thimble was made as a birthday gift to the millionaire's daughter who can now boast possession of the second most valuable thimble in the world. Her father was so much pleased with the fine workmanship it showed that he ordered another but much less expensive one to be made for presentation to the school companion and bosom friend of his fortunate child.
Five or six years ago a jeweler in the West End of London was paid a sum of nearly £3000 for a thimble, which the pampered wife of a South American Croesus insisted on having made for her. This was one mass of precious gems, diamonds and rubies, which as thimble ornaments seem to almost monopolize feminine taste.
The eccentric prince, the late Maharajah Dhulpee Singh never did things by halves, and one of the most beautiful and costly thimbles ever made was that which was supplied to his order as a present to a great lady in Russia.
The price of this ran well into four figures, and the gems set in it were all pearls of great value and no less beauty.
So were those in a highly treasured thimble, which, on the occasion of one of his visits to Europe, the late Shah of Persia presented to a lady whose guest he was for a few hours. In the words of the delighted recipient, it looked like a cluster of glittering gems, which in reality it was, save for the gold in which they were set. An expert in precious stones valued this thimble at £1500.
There are thimbles of no intrinsic value, but which on account of the famous women to whom they belonged would command very high prices if submitted to public auction. In the possession of the wealthy Mrs Vanderbilt there is a thimble which was formerly used by Queen Alexandra. It is an extremely dainty article, made of gold and enamel. But, apart from its associations, it is not of much greater value than another thimble owned by the same American lady. That is a very serviceable looking article in solid silver, but very small. Its value lies in the fact that it was the property of the late Queen Victoria in the days when she was only a girl of fourteen. From Its appearance our late sovereign knew how to ply her needle in her youthful days. The first thimble ever made was the one presented in the year 1684 to Anna Van Wedy, the second wife of Killaon Van Rensselaer, and the thimble is, therefore, a Dutch invention. In making the presentation the giver, Van Benschoten, begged the lady "to accept this new covering for the protection of her diligent fingers as a token of his great esteem and profound appeal."

This was a filler article from some source that provided such things. A lot of these filler items were a lot of hooey. My grandfather published a newspaper a zillion years ago, and would fill space with ridiculous, florid poems that he'd written under a feminine alias. I've never seen any of this thimble info in any other source.

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