Jewel Box Motifs

The Swastika Symbol:

Brainard & Wilson

The “Swastika” is derived from the Sanskrit word Svasti, meaning “well-being.” The sign dates from pre-historic times, and for thousands of years it has been used as a symbol of the sun/solar energy (Aryan), infinity (China), and continuing re-creation (Buddhism), as well as a decorative motif in the Americans, China, Europe, Greece and Scandinavia. It has been found in the catacombs of Rome, on textiles of the Inca period, and on relics unearthed at Troy.

In the early 1900’s in the United States, the Swastika motif was quite popular, and primarily associated with Native Americans. From a 1907 sales catalog: “Very popular at the present time, the Swastika is an old Indian symbol for good luck, long life, happiness and prosperity, brought to the wearer by the four winds of Heaven represented by the four arms of the cross.”

1909 Henry Paulson & Co, Art Noveau issue of Jewelry Boxes & Display Goods

Most jewelers and art metal manufacturers offered Swastika lines. For example, the Weidlich Jewelry Company advertised souvenir spoons and jewelry in 1907. The Brainard & Wilson Company manufactured and sold a desk set (see Manufacturer section Brainard & Wilson). And some catalogs devoted entire pages to this motif.

1907 Warren Mansfield CO. catalog

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