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Art Deco Opal & Rock Crystal Bead Necklace

Art Deco Opal & Rock Crystal Bead Necklace



DATE: Art Deco, 1926

On the 15th of February, 1926, Annie Bamford walked in to a jewellery shop on Yorkshire Street in Rochdale and purchased this exceptional string of opal beads, unlike any I've ever seen, for the princely sum of £15 (around £1000 in today's money). While we'll almost certainly never know who she was - there were eight Annie Bamfords living in Rochdale on the 1911 census, and even more in 1939; it's a common name around these parts - there's a small chance it was my great-great grandmother, which is why I practically fell off my chair when I saw the original receipt. Handwritten by Thomas Williamson, and made out to Annie Bamford, Feb. 15 1926. Each opal has been sawn in half, and a faceted rock crystal divider slotted into the space. The style is ultra Deco, albeit more minimalist than was often manifested, with platinum clasp and original safety chain still present. The shop, A. Williamson, advertises various types of fine jewellery, gold wedding rings, pocket watches, as well as being a "dealer in American, German, French, & Alarm Clocks". It was established by Abraham Williamson in the latter half of the 19th century and passed down the family for at least a couple generations. The premises, at 30 Yorkshire Street, is now a shoe shop... so who knows what became of the jewellery business. Abraham's death was reported in the Rochdale Observer in 1924, and he apparently did pretty well from himself, passing on effects to the value of £11,831 (approx. £700k in today's money) as well as the family business.


Opal & Rock Crystal


Wearable length: 17 inches

Beads: 7.3 x 5.2mm




No marks present, clasp tests as platinum




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