This antique souvenir was most likely gifted to a lover, by a merchant marine or fisherman. This item is as functional, as its beautiful. A scalloped edged pedestal is decorated in a mosaic of shells. The top center is fitted with a velvet upholstered cushion. Perfect for displaying hat and stick pins.
It measures 5" L x 4" W x 3" T
Condition: This is an old piece, so it has wear and tear relevant with age. The cushion was actively, so pin holes exist.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, seashells like these were intricately arranged into geometric mosaics known as “sailors’ valentines.” They were—and still are—made by gluing hundreds of shells onto cotton batting, and framing the work with octagonal cases of wood and glass. The designs incorporated hearts, flowers, and nautical symbols such as anchors or compass roses. They might also bear a message—“Home Again” or “Forget Me Not”—spelled out in tiny shells. They were given by whalers and merchant seamen to loved ones when the men safely returned home from what could have been months or even years at sea.