Vintage 1920s Ostby and Barton Sterling Silver Shell Cameo Necklace

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Once known as the largest ring manufacturers in the world, the history of Ostby and Barton is a bit of a Cinderella story befallen by tragedy.

Engelhart Ostby was a Norwegian trained jeweler who emigrated to the United States in 1869. After working for a number of jewelers, Ostby met Nathan Barton and together founded Ostby and Barton Co. in 1879.

Beginning with less than $3,000 to their name, Ostby and Barton found fast success; taking the jewelry business by storm and quickly becoming a household name.

But all of that good fortune came to a halt in April of 1912, when Ostby and his daughter, Helene, were returning home from their trip to France to study European jewelry design and production.

When the duo were preparing to head back to their home in Providence, RI, they heard from friends about a new ship sailing to New York, the RMS Titanic. Ostby purchased two first class tickets for he and his daughter. 

Late in the night on April 14, the Titanic struck and iceberg and began to sink. Ostby and his daughter Helene made it to the deck of the ship before Ostby decided to return to his room to grab a jacket to protect him from the cold air. That was the last time he was seen alive.

Helene boarded a lifeboat and made it to safety, while her father unfortunately perished with the ship.

After Helene had time to process the terrible tragedy, she returned to Rhode Island and joined her brother and his daughter to become joint owners in Ostby and Barton Co.

The company continued producing jewelry into the 1950s, and we are forever thankful for that!

This beautiful shell cameo necklace was made in the 1920s while Helene was at the helm of the business.

It is fashioned in sterling silver and has all of the delicate details and high-quality finishes that one expects from the Ostby and Barton Co. even down to the intricate filigree bail. The hand-carved cameo has a concave back and the sterling mount was custom made to fit the irregular shape of the shell.

It fastens in the back with a push down box clasp that is highly detailed and a work of art itself!

Measurements

Chain Length: 17"
Pendant Width: 1"
Pendant Length: 1.5"

Marked: OB Sterling

Condition: Excellent
No flaws to note.