Saturday 12 May 2012

Mum's Treasure

My Mum, Marjorie Mavis Stevens, passed away peacefully in the early hours of Sunday the 22nd of April.  She was 84 years old.  This post is in memory of her.

Since her passing, I have been thinking about what material treasures Mum had.  As I did this I realised that the material things she treasured most were the things that were given to her either as a handmade gift or as a special keepsake from a family member or friend.  What follows is but a few examples of these treasures.

Inlaid Jewellery Box made for Mum by my Dad

My Dad made this jewellery box for Mum before they were married in 1949.  Dad was very good with his hands and made many items of furniture, toys and gifts throughout his life.  Mum treasured these items.  This box is not only inlaid on top but also fully veneered both inside and out.

Some treasure inside
Inside we can see a few more of my Mum's treasured items.  These trinkets were handed down to me for safekeeping quite sometime ago.  Because of my interest in antiques, collectables and our own family history, our home seems to have become the final resting place for our family archives.  Everyone knows that John would never throw these things out.  I don't mind though as these things are real treasures to me and it is nice to know that they are all safely kept together.

Photo frame, brooch, fob watch and chain from the jewellery box

The small rolled gold frame houses two photos of Mum's parents, my grandparents.  Mum had fond memories of her parents.

I never knew my Grandmother Bergstrum as she died before I was born.  Mum nursed her in her final years.  Though she found this time hard, she willingly did this out of love for her mother and a strong sense of duty of being the youngest daughter still living at home.

I only have some vague memories of my Grandfather Bergstrum as he died when I was a child.  At least I have some photographs.

The brooch was another of Dad's creations which made it very special to Mum.  Dad made this out of two coins, a halfpenny and a threepence, and gave it to Mum before they were married.  This was not the only piece of jewellery that Dad made for Mum.  He also made a small silver heart shaped locket out of a two shilling piece.  Not sure how legal it was to be cutting up the currency at the time.

Dad carefully cut the Australian coat of arms out of a silver threepence.  He then mounted this in the centre of a copper halfpenny with some raised scalloping.  Why he chose to use coins with the date of 1914 on them will most likely remain a mystery.  Maybe it was to commemorate the beginning of World War 1 or maybe it was just two coins that he had with matching dates.  Who knows?
This brooch could possibly fall into the category of trench art.

This rear view shows how the pin is fixed to the back of the brooch.  Obviously neatness to the rear was not quite as important as to the front.  Still not a bad effort Dad especially when you look at how he cut out the coat of arms.

The brooch and a halfpenny and threepence

The silver fob watch belonged to my Grandfather Bergstrum.  I remember playing with this when we were just kids.  This was unfortunate as we were probably the ones who broke the hands off and also contributed to its rather battered look.  Needless to say, this watch doesn't run anymore.

The case of the fob watch is nicely engraved all over.  A letter 'B' for Bergstrum can be seen engraved in a shield on the front.

The rear of the fob watch shows more engraving.

The watch is marked '935' inside the case which I believe may be a continental silver mark rather than an English mark.

The fully hallmarked silver Albert chain (fob watch chain) with 15ct gold fob also belonged to my Grandfather Bergstrum.  The hallmarks would date this chain to Birmingham 1915.  Each individual link of this chain is hallmarked and there is also a makers mark 'HP' on the T bar and clasps. I presume that the fob watch was once attached to this chain. 

Mum and I at Easter 2012
I take great comfort knowing that Mum is now at peace with her Lord and that she has been reunited with her beloved Jack (my Dad) in heaven.


  1. Enjoyed reading this tribute to Mum and Dad.

  2. I don't ever remember seeing the 'coin' brooch before. I will have to come and have a closer squiz somewtime. I am VERY glad that things just find a home with you. Thanks for treasuring 'our history' !


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