Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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Mary Gage

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Mary Gage
reprinted with the permission of the Maine Antiques Digest

Mary G. Gage died March 13, 1993 in Portland, Maine on the eve of the 'Great Blizzard.' She was born August 16, 1898 in St. Mary's Township, Indiana.

During her life, she had been a medical technician, a silversmith, a breeder of French poodles, a used-book seller, and an antiques dealer. After serving as a nurse at the time of World War I, she moved to Chicago where she studied and worked at St. Luke's hospital. In the early 20's she fled a brief marriage and spent three years traveling around the world; two of those years were spent in China, including a year in Peking. She developed then a life-long interest in things Chinese, ranging from literature to design to erotica to food. The balance of her trip was spent in India, Africa, and Argentina.

On return to the States, she learned silversmithing and set up in business in New York. She owned a row house in Greenwich Village and had a workshop in SoHo where she was a regular at Fanelli's Bar. Her jewelry was sold in uptown shops and at exhibits throughout the country.

In the 1940's, she lived in an old mill on the river in Westport, Connecticut, raising poodles. Following that, she moved to Hartland, Vermont, where she salvaged an elegant old brick house, which, after she left, became the Hartland Antique Center.

In the '50's, Mary Gage moved to Maine, spending a number of years in Waldoboro, working as a silversmith, antiques and used-book dealer, and poodle breeder. At some point she also had a cat that did well in commercials. The citizens of Waldoboro didn't much appreciate Mary Gage (She was different, and her place did reek of dogs). In turn, she loathed Waldoboro, which she referred to as 'that pusspocket.' Her last years were spent in a Portland apartment where she continued to make jewelry and occasionally bought and sold antiques.

Throughout her life, she had a series of interesting friends and acquaintances: from Henry Ford when she was a girl in school, to gum magnate Phillip Wrigley, whom she met in India, to Isamu Noguchi in New York to James Thurber in Connecticut, Maxfield Parrish in Vermont.

In recent years, her jewelry has enjoyed increased interest as The Arts and Crafts movement has come to the fore. Auction houses have begun to feature her pieces and collectors have actively been seeking her work.

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Mary Gage
Sterling Earrings, c.1930s

American Studio Jewelers
Mary Gage

New York, NY 1920s/30s
Westport CT & Hartland VT, 1940s
Waldoboro & Portland, ME 1950s-1993

Mary Gage
Brooch c.1940s
Sterling, Coral & Turquoise

Mary Gage
Sterling & Antique Jade

Mary Gage
Lily Pad Clip
Sterling c.1940s

Pair of cuffs, c.1950s, Sterling
Mary Gage
American, 1898 - 1993
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of Lois Chazen in memory of Lea Karina and Isidor Achron
©Yale University Art Gallery

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