A Gem-Sized Tintype from the Late 1860s

Unknown Lady, circa late 1860s

I am often drawn back to my Adams-Tarbox-Chadwick photo collection of unknown family and friends.

This particular tintype always catches my attention because it is absolutely tiny and is known as a gem-sized tintype. It measures under one inch by just about one inch in size, but the image is quite clear.

It is encased in paper and the front is heavily embossed with detailing around the oval opening. Someone did a bit of trimming off the right side of the casing, as the cut line isn’t quite straight.

She is stylishly dressed even to the extent of wearing dangling earrings.

Gem-sized tintypes date from 1866-1880, but the style of this lady’s hair, her dress with the tiny bit of white collar peeking out at the neckline and the heavy embossing suggests that it dates closer to the 1866 time frame.

Unfortunately, like my other tintypes, they are completely unmarked by both the photographer and any owners.

As for resembling anyone in the family, she doesn’t put me in the mind of any male or female ancestors for whom I have photos. It is certainly possible she was a family friend. I’d say she is at least 30 years old, so born no later than the mid 1830s.

How I wish I could step back in time to ask great grandaunt Pearl who all these people in her unmarked photos were!


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