No fairy godmother jokes please (unless it's a REALLY funny one)
October 21, 2019 11:38 AM   Subscribe

After my godmother passed away a few years ago, her daughter found this bone or ivory wand-like object in her house. What is it? (She was active in the Lutheran church, so it may be a religious object.)

More info:

-The wand is a bit over 10 inches long. (We considered that it might be part of a fountain pen, but it seems very large and unwieldy for that.)

-There is something embedded in the tip - it looks a bit like cork or wood but I'm not certain.

-Around the tip, there's a bit of residue which could be from glue or tape.

-It unscrews into two pieces, with the handle being hollow, but it's not clear whether anything was meant to be kept in the hollow piece, or whether this was just an artifact of its assembly from two smaller pieces of bone/ivory.

-My godmother was very involved with our Lutheran church, and the grape/leaf imagery makes me suspect it may be related to that - but her daughter and husband didn't recognize it.

I've had this thing sitting in my pen holder for years, and I'd love to finally learn what it is!
posted by showbiz_liz to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Handle of a parasol?
posted by nkknkk at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

It looks like a cute stick for carrom games.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:43 AM on October 21, 2019

I have seen cigarette holders that look a lot like that.
posted by poe at 11:51 AM on October 21, 2019

Response by poster: I thought it might be a cigarette holder too, but neither section is hollow all the way through.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:52 AM on October 21, 2019

Maybe a decorative page turner, where the flat part has broken off? It would be a bit non-standard for that. Similarly, it may have been something to snuff out candles where again the working part has broken off.

Also along those lines, it may have been something to close or open windows or window shades or blinds.
posted by vunder at 11:54 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

My immediate thought was that this is the top half of a buggy whip. They could be very ornate. I've sold several in the past and yours looks very similar. That bottom part where you said had a bit of glue residue is where the ferrule would have been. If it is a buggy whip it may have been broken, and she kept it for sentimental reasons.
posted by the webmistress at 11:57 AM on October 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Was she involved in the choir/music? It resembles a conductors baton.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

It reminds me of the pointers used in Jewish services for reading the Torah, with the functional bit missing. The orientation of the shield under the grapes makes me think the wider end is meant to be the "top".
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

It looks like the handle of a fan to me.
posted by lazuli at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

My guess is conductor's baton or a chalk holder.
posted by cross_impact at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2019

Did she do any sort of yarn crafts? It looks a bit like a nostepinne.
posted by darchildre at 12:46 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

R/whatisthistthing is a good resource
posted by bq at 12:51 PM on October 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Nostepinne came to my mind also, but the decorative elements seem unwieldy for that.
posted by praemunire at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2019

As a nostepinne user, I'd agree that the carving makes that very unlikely -- it'd snag when you tried to slide the cake of yarn off of it. If it's much smoother than it looks, maybe? But probably not.
posted by LizardBreath at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2019

It looks like a parasol handle. They were often made of bone or ivory or wood and carved like this. The brown bits you see are the wooden remains of the shaft. Totally random examples from ebay of typical parasols that show how such a handle would look in situ.
posted by niicholas at 1:30 PM on October 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

Parasol handle to the best of my ability.
posted by antiquated at 3:16 PM on October 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

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