Mary Todd Lincoln earrings

about 1860
Worn by Mary Todd Lincoln (American, 1818–1882)


Depth x diameter: 2.38 x 2.06 cm (15/16 x 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Gold, enamel, and diamond

Not On View


Americas, Jewelry


Earrings, flares, plugs, studs

The earrings (and matching brooch - 2008.313) are quatrefoil in shape. Each has a central diamond with a diamond surround. Eight smaller diamonds form a second tier of stones. The stones are all mine-cut and are probably original to the suite. The color range is J-K with VS-VS1 clarity. there are some losses to the tracery enamel. The suite was featured in Frank Lesley’s Illustrated Newspaper (Oct. 26, 1867). It was part of a large group of Mrs. Lincoln’s clothes, jewelry, and furnishings that were offered for sale through Brady & Company of New York City. Apparently, Mrs. Lincoln fell into dire financial circumstances after the assassination of her husband, Abraham Lincoln. The sale price was listed as $350.00




1867, purchased by James Denton Hancock of Ohio for his wife Mary Hitchcock Hancock (according to Mary Todd Lincoln scholar Donna McCreary) at a sale of Mrs. Lincoln's clothes and jewels which took place at Brady & Co, 609 Broadway, NYC; descended in the family of Robert Allen, Jr.; purchased at Frank Kaminski auction on 4/26/08;

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Susan B. Kaplan and by exchange from a Bequest of Maxim Karolik, The Elizabeth Day McCormick Collection, Gift of Mrs. Willian Reynolds, Gift of Mrs. Alfred Redfield, Gift of Mrs. Samuel Cabot, Gift of Mrs. Oric Bates, Gift of Miss Eleanor Randall, Gift of Miss Eleanor E. Barry, Gift of Mrs. Lorenz E. Ernst, Gift of Miss Penelope B. Noyes from the Estate of Mrs. Winthrop H. Wade, Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Pease, Gift from the Estate of Mary Babcock Alward, Gift of Mrs. George E. Bates, Gift of Miss Helen R. Humpage in memory of William and Winifred Humpage, and Gift in memory of Mary Wade White from her children