Double stick pins are hard to come by, and this one holds a delightful surprise: a microphotograph of scenes of Niagra Falls. The two stickpins each feature a dangling semi-opaque bead made of satinspar, a type of feldspar, which has a satiny finish and is sometimes called white tiger’s eye. The two are connected by a chain, from which dangles a satinspar charm in the shape of a barrel with a gold band around it. And that’s where the “magic” comes in.
Hold the barrel charm up to the light, look through one of the holes in the side and you’ll see “Souvenir of the Niagra Falls,” surrounded by seven photographs of the Falls. What you’re seeing is a photomicrograph (a tiny photograph), visible through an imbedded lens called a Stanhope. From what I’ve read, the photomicrograph was invented first, but you had to view it through a microscope. When Stanhope developed his lens, the technology was incorporated into a number of novelty items and jewelry, and the Victorians loved it.
In this piece, the stickpins are each 2-1/4” inches long and are the beads are about 3/8”. The barrel charm is ½” long. The round beads on the stickpin are 10K rolled gold (tested); the stickpins shafts are plated with a lower karat gold. The piece is in very good vintage condition and comes in its original red velvet fitted box.