Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.38
Object Name Charm
Title Watch Chain Charm
Artist Unknown
Date late 18th c.
Description Carnelian charm that reportedly adorned Benjamin Franklin's watch chain. Housed in leather box with purple satin inside. Mounted on board.
Label Benjamin Franklin reputedly wore this red stone charm on the chain of his pocket watch while he attended the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776. However, there is no documentation to confirm this claim. Carnelian, also spelled cornelian, was a popular gem among the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 18th century, it attracted intellectuals, such as Franklin, who were inspired by classical philosophy and culture.
Material Carnelian
Dimensions W-0.625 L-0.938 inches
Dimension Details Oval
Board: 3 x 2.5
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of Jane Rittenhouse Wilson, 18 April 1890.
Search Terms 18th century
eighteenth century
Founding Father