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Anyone who is interested in, or collects vintage jewelry, knows all about pins and brooches. But one less commonly talked about pin is a stick pin.

Stick pins are pins similar to small dressmaker pins, except that they are longer and often have quite ornamental tops to them. Scarf and Stick Pins have been popular for well over 200 years, dating back to the 18th century, where they were worn by gentlemen of the establishment.

As they became more popular, they began being worn by both men and women, either on lapels, ties, or scarves. Most of the later vintage designs were made between 1880-1920. Many of the major vintage jewelry designers made stick pins as part of their jewelry lines.

The practice of wearing stickpins was first done as a practical measure. Much of the neckwear of the times was quite voluminous and stickpins were a way of keeping the tie in place, keeping the wearer warm, and even keeping food from getting down into the shirt of careless eaters!

As the fashion of wearing stickpins grew, it gave jewelers of the day an open canvas for creativity. The first designs were quite simple and were made with just a few clusters of stones or sometimes just plain gold. Later designs were much more daring, with intricate designs, not only in the head of the pin but in the adorment of it with fine jewels.

The stick pin is sometimes mistakenly called a Hat Pin. While the designs of the two are similar – an ornamental top on a long single pin stem – the length of the pin is the main difference between the two. Hat pins have much longer stems and normally have glass beads or Rondelle rhinestone tops. Stick pins have a shorter pin and the top is normally more thematic in styling, i.e. monogram, figurals, flowers, etc. Also, stick pins often have closing caps for the bottom and hat pins normally do not.

Examples of Stick pins :

Simple stick pin with ornate top which is embossed.

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This stick pin from Emmons jewelry has a fancy end cap and fob that match the top of the stick pin.

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Many designs of cameos were popular as stick pin heads. The one at the beginning of this article is a resin design by Napier but collectors also can look for designs in fine gold with shell cameos.

The practice of wearing stickpins started to wane in the early 20th century when the modern tie and knot emerged. The stickpin no longer served the same practical purpose for men and now became just an adornment. It it still often worn by women on jacket lapels. The early stick pins are very valuable and quite collectible today.

Carol Speake of Finishing Touch Vintage Jewelry on Ruby Lane

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