Nineteenth century black beaded collar from Istanbul. It was brought to Australia by Lili Sigalas when she migrated to Australia in 1922 to marry Letho Sigalas. The collar belonged to Lili's grandmother and was a treasured family heirloom.

Lili (Eleni) Sigalas (nee Vrahamis), born in 1904, was the daughter of Callirrhoe Dressler and Stavros Vrahamis, both from the Greek Island of Sikinos, who also lived for some time in Istanbul. Lili completed her secondary education in Athens, her father ensuring she was reasonably well educated, as he was unable to settle a dowry on her. In 1920 Lili was engaged to a cousin Letho (Eleutherios) Sigalas, and in 1922 migrated to Melbourne on the 'Largs Bay' with her father-in-law to be, James (Iakovos) Sigalas, and her elder married sister Alex. Letho and Lili were married at the Greek Orthodox Church on Victoria Parade, on 18 July 1923, just eight days before Lili's 19th birthday. They had two daughters - Dan'e in 1924 and Magarita Babette in 1931.

Letho worked in his father's caf├ęs and the young couple moved in a very sociable set that included their own young Greek cousins, going to numerous dances, the races, and nightclubs. The family lived at the St Kilda Road house until 1948 when they moved to Kew. In 1930 the family toured Europe and travelled to Greece to see Lili's parents, and again in 1939. In 1937 Lili enrolled in an arts course at Melbourne University (her English now excellent), and during the 1940s, she became a committee member of the International Club, established by Ivy Brookes, which organised cultural events at the St Kilda Town Hall. She was also a member of the Greek Red Cross during the War, participated in organising significant theatre productions and worked as a correspondence teacher of English by the Migrant Education Department. Letho passed away in 1964 and Lili rejoined her family in Greece until 1987, having returned to Melbourne for extended periods during this time. Lili passed away in the 1990s.

Physical Description

Wide black beaded collar. Small cylindrical beads form geometric shapes and leaf forms. There are larger, spherical beads throughout the collar. There is a long, narrow section which is thought to have been separated from lower centre area of collar. A collection of loose beads, some attached to cotton thread, were acquired with the collar, and incorporated back into it.

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