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By LAURA M. RECKFORD
April 15, 2005
A lighthouse, an oyster shell, a clipper ship, a windmill, a sulky wheel, a strawberry, and, no politics please, a cranberry scoop.
These are the images on the new Falmouth bracelet, a brand-new piece of jewelry designed by Karen Francis of West Barnstable.
Ms. Francis, a physical therapist, is new to jewelry design but ambitious. She designed a Barnstable bracelet last year and is working on a Martha’s Vineyard bracelet and a Nantucket bracelet.
Her bracelets depict the history of villages in Barnstable and Falmouth, by means of handcarved images on the bracelet.
She said she does meticulous research for each bracelet, hitting the history books and sketching out ideas. In the case of the Falmouth bracelet, she went straight to The Book of Falmouth, the definitive history of the town.
Ms. Francis commissions wax carvings of her sketched images, which are then handcarved in silver for the bracelets. There is also a two-toned bracelet of gold and silver.
Each bracelet is sold in an attractive cranberry-red box with a tiny scroll that explains the images on the bracelet.
On the Falmouth bracelet, each image is linked to a village through a historical reference or industry.
The whale’s tail, which is an image Ms. Francis is using on all of her bracelets, represents Falmouth village in what Ms. Francis calls, “the golden age of whaling from 1830 to 1870.”
The sulky wheel represents Teaticket, which used to have a horse track at Trotting Park, now playing fields.
The windmill represents West Falmouth where there was a prized mill owned by Joseph Bowerman that used to grind corn, and the oyster shell represents Waquoit, which still supports a viable shellfish industry.
The strawberry represents East Falmouth, which used to have vast strawberry acreage farmed by Portuguese immigrants, and the lighthouse represents Woods Hole, home to Nobska Lighthouse.
The clipper ship represents North Falmouth, formerly the home of a clipper ship industry responsible for the construction of more than 100 ships, and the cranberry scoop represents Hatchville, where there are still acres of cranberry bogs.
Further information about the Falmouth bracelet can be obtained by visiting: www.falmouthbracelet.com.