A cluster of Cabbage Roses and foliage on a sparkling silver background is the focus of this beautiful Victorian-era brooch style pin. The flowers are a die-cut transfer, mounted under a glass dome fully 1/2 inch thick at the center, firmly affixed to a brass backing that is 1-1/2 inches wide.
This piece was converted to jewelry from its original use as a decorative purpose as a working piece of a saddle horse bridle. On the back, you can readily see the two "scars" where an original "D" ring, that would have attached it to a bridle, was cut away. A pin that has been added has a fine safety catch that works well.
We found an example of this same exact floral design, except with a white background, on page 233 of "Bridle Rosettes: Two Centuries of Equine Adornment" by E. Helene Sage.
CONDITION is very nice. The pastel colors are bright and the artwork is clear. The transfer appears to "float" over the bright silver background. The brass back is firmly attached to the crystal top. The pin is firmly soldered on. The brass has a rich patina from age. IMPORTANT: there is a tiny surface chip on the glass (SEE our picture with the Yellow V pointing it out). This is hard to see but it is "there" and we've priced this accordingly. Otherwise NO cracks or chips and no scuffing ! Also, there is a "shadow" on the back from an old price tag -- we have NOT attempted to fully remove this. It doesn't show at all when the pin is worn.
BACKGROUND: Bridle rosettes or bridle buttons have a long utilitarian and decorative history. Their purpose is to be slipped onto the browband of a horse or pony bridle using the D rings, then pushed back against the cheek straps to help hold them in place on the animal's head. They probably have been used for nearly as long as the bridles they have decorated. As horse riding and driving changed in the mid-1900s from essential transportation to an enjoyable pastime, bridle rosette production decreased dramatically. Over the years many of them have been converted into costume jewelry by removing the D ring from the back and adding a pin.
According to legend, superstitious people In ancient Egypt reportedly designed them as protection for their horses, with the rosettes supposedly attracting the eye of evil spirits. We could not verify this theory anywhere but it is interesting. Plain metal was used for utilitarian pieces and a favorite decoration was an initial. By the Victorian period, the glass dome would cover fancy and colorful diecuts and transfers that were so popular then for business cards and calling cards.
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