Girandole, noun


Fans of horology (vintage clocks and watches) will recognize the word and meaning of girandole. The word itself is from the mid-19th century, when it referred to the earliest type of mirror made to hang on a wall. Over time, a girandole clock was the name given to an ornate banjo clock from the early 20th century. There is another, unrelated meaning: a girandole can also be a brooch or earring having three drops hanging from a large stone, with the central drop usually being larger than those flanking it. It’s most commonly used, though, for banjo clocks.

The clock pictured here is lot #42 in Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s Exceptional Estate Auction, planned for Wednesday, June 17th, online and at the firm’s gallery in Pittsfield, Mass. It’s a Foster Campos (Pembroke, Mass.) banjo clock, 46 inches in height, with an estimate of $2,500-$3,500. The clock features an elaborate girandole presentation banjo case having a large gilt eagle, ornate gilt base, solid brass bezel and balls, a presentation throat with rope molding and gilt lower door with gilt balls, plus an Aurora lower door signed “Moberg” reverse painted glass.