Gold Necklace


James Marshall’s discovery of gold at Sutter’s mill in California in 1848 transformed the wealth and reach of the nation. Farmers abandoned their homesteads, sailors their ships, and adventurers from China and elsewhere sailed across oceans to seek their fortunes in California’s mines and streams. Extracting gold often left these lands devastated, but these expeditions also financed the growth and statehood of California. Those who didn’t strike out west still participated in gold fever by trading in gold coins and purchasing gold jewelry. During the early 1800s, Englishman Thomas Lowe introduced new gold plating techniques to the American jewelry industry. These innovations were put to good use during the gold rush, and produced delicate pieces like this gold necklace from the mid-to-late 1800s.

Date Made: 1850-1870

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Costume, Clothing & Accessories, American Enterprise

Exhibition: American Enterprise

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Lucinda de Leftwich Templin, Ph.D., in memory of Ella Rice Templin

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CS.202946.174Catalog Number: 202946.174Accession Number: 202946

Object Name: necklaceOther Terms: necklace; Jewelry; Accessories Worn on the Body; Female

Physical Description: metal (overall material)with pendant (overall style)


Record Id: nmah_355899

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