As mentioned in the previous post, the attachments to the vest chains were called fobs. These little fobs took a number of forms. Some fobs were seals, used to authenticate documents and seal letters. They usually had gemstones set into a gold or gold chased frame. It is fob seals I want to talk about. Some were fixed, allowing one side to be the main focus, while others were double-sided, able to swivel to show off the different sides of the fob. Bloodstone, a green jasper with red specks, was often used on one side of such fobs. They were also known as spinner fobs. Others fobs contained the insignia of a regiment, a sporting club and some other allegiance.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the seals were used to seal documents and so on, but from the mid 19th century, they became purely decorative. While some might be engraved with the wearer’s initials or family crest, many just contained a hardstone (usually agate or jasper) or gemstone without engraving. The setting might be very ornate with a lot of rococo flourishes. The size of decorative fobs varied, although most were about 3 to 4cms high. They are all different but show extraordinary detail in design, engraving and embossing.
Fob seals continue to be made today, mainly so they can be used as pendants to hang from fob chains. The fob seal below was made in 1991.
In the next post, I will talk about different types of fobs that were hung from fob or vest chains