Colonial Trading Co.

Nantucket Basket with Scrimshaw Top Set in 14K Gold

In 1659, when the first European settlers arrived to Nantucket, there was a need for storage and transportation of everyday household goods and wares. Basket making was one of the many skills that the friendly natives of the island taught the Europeans. The early Nantucket baskets were made out of materials that were readily available at the time, namely ash, oak, or hickory. By the 1830s, the whale population of the North Atlantic region has dwindled due to overfishing. As a result, it forces the whaling ships to travel as far as the Pacific to hunt for whales. From the Pacific Islands, the whale ships brought Rattan, a long vine like jungle plant that looked much like bamboo except it has a solid core. The introduction of the rattan to the weaving process is one of the key elements that helped create the distinctive look of Nantucket baskets. The other elements were solid wooden bottoms and the wooden molds; it was the combination of these three elements, as well as a keen sense of craftsmanship that gave Nantucket baskets their unique character. In 1945 Jose Reyes, a native Philippine came to Nantucket for a visit and learned the art of basket making combined with his working knowledge of rattan, led to the creation of “Friendship baskets,” which are the most recognized and popular form of Nantucket baskets till today. This is a well done diamond cut 14K gold basket with a ship engraving in scrimshaw on the top. The Nantucket Basket pendant is 6.6 grams. Inside the basket contains a “lucky” penny as is the custom with Nantucket Basket making the pendant 7.4 grams total weight.