Saturday, March 28, 2009

Breed Jewelry: Bulldogs and Their Cousins Part I

Bulldogs are a humorous and fascinating category of collecting. There is a great range of costume jewelry featuring the pugnacious canine, as designers find the "so ugly it's cute" face irresistible.

The English Bulldog harks back to butcher's dogs, used to control cattle. They were then adopted to the "sport" of bull and bear baiting, and the dog was bred for ferociousness and physical traits which would allow it to catch the bull by the nose, hang on, and survive the experience. In 1835, the practice was banned in England, and those that loved the breed began breeding for a more sedate temperament. (For more history of the bulldog breed, check out this website.) The modern bulldog is a sedate animal, with the characteristic pushed up face and wrinkles.

Bulldogs have been found in fine jewelry for centuries. Particularly intriguing are the reverse carved Essex glass pieces and hand painted enamel pins.

Essex Crystal from the Cathy Gordon collection.

Costume jewelry bulldogs come in a variety of materials and designs. Wood and plastic are favorite materials.

Wood & Leather Bulldog from the DJM

Black vintage plastic comic bulldog pin set from the DJM

Designers & Bulldogs

Perhaps the most famous costume jewelry bulldogs are from Joseff of Hollywood (1938-present, see Researching Costume Jewelry for more information.).

Joseff of Hollywood stamped bulldog front and back from the DJM.

Coro's Mrs. Dog is a bulldog. This is part of a set (Mr. Dog has a top hat.)

Coro Mrs. Dog from the DJM.

To be continued...

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