A viral TikTok video showcases a vintage makeup compact purchased by Amber Ortolano, containing a black-and-white photo of Bette Davis.
Vintage antiques are exemplary items from a previous era that have retained their value due to age, rarity and historical significance. These items could be anything from furniture, artwork, jewelry, or even household items like telephones and radios. Collectors and enthusiasts of vintage antiques are fascinated by the magnificent stories and unique qualities of each item and often go to great lengths to acquire them. Owning vintage antiques can be a beautiful way to connect with the past and preserve a piece of history for future generations. Recently, a woman named Amber Ortolano (@amberortolano) highlighted in a viral TikTok video that buying vintage objects can offer more than simply reusing timeless pieces more sustainably.
These items can also offer a connection to the past and the individuals who existed before us. Ortolano, who describes herself as an artist, storyteller and glamorous orb, showcased a makeup compact she had purchased from a thrift shop in the video. Ortolano shares in the text that while cleaning a vintage powder compact, she made an interesting discovery. The video shows her removing the old makeup and then cleaning the nooks and crannies of the compact until something catches her eye. It turns out to be a black-and-white photo of Bette Davis from a 1940s or '50s newspaper that was found at the back of the compact. Ortolano says, "I can’t help but get emotional thinking about the woman who carried this in her compact."
The video features the popular TikTok sound "How I Love Being a Woman," which is from the Netflix series "Anne with an E," playing in the background, evoking thoughts of the multifaceted nature of womanhood. Ortolano expressed that she would not even consider discarding the old newspaper clipping, rather, she intends to keep it inside the compact and take it with her wherever she travels, just like the previous owner did. The video has gathered over 25k views, with several people recognizing Ortolano's emotions.
TikTok user @terishkova commented, "I can’t explain it to its full extent. But thinking about people we are connected to through time & things leaves me in a daze." Another person, @darla.delight, said, "Such a sweet little detail! She would’ve never guessed another woman years later would treasure that clipping just as she did." The third user, @f4irvvvv, said, "I found a newspaper clipping of some man (actor?) in an old compact, I still have no idea who he is."
In another similar incident, Carol Bohlin had no knowledge of the letters her parents exchanged during her father's service in the war. However, on this Valentine's Day, she was able to read and experience the touching letters, thanks to an "heirloom investigator," Chelsey Brown, a genealogist from New York who specializes in recovering rare artifacts for families, utilized her skills in family-history research to track down a descendant of a married couple named Claude and Marie Borgal Smythe from the 1940s. The couple's love letters, which were written between 1943 and 1944, were discovered by a homeowner who was renovating Bohlin's childhood home in Staten Island, New York, in 1995. Before this discovery, Bohlin had no idea that her father had written 18 letters to her mother while he was serving in the U.S. Navy.