This antique bridle rosette is decorated with a spray of pink and blue flowers that seem to "float" on a sparkling, pinkish golden background. It is enhanced with a wider than usual brass rim, firmly clamped over a polished metal back (we believe it is steel, possibly tin).
SIZE is 1-1/2 inches wide with a glass dome that is fully 1/2 inch thick in the center.
Bridle rosettes were made for use as decorative but working additions to the bridle of a saddle horse or pony. With one slipped over each end of the browband, a pair of rosettes would help keep the straps securely in place on the animal's head.
The original "D" ring, used to attach to a browband, is firmly attached on the back of this rosette.
CONDITION is lovely, with only a bit of discoloration of the background (NOT THE FLOWERS) at the very edges. There are NO cracks, chips or flakes in the glass. The heavy brass rim has taken on a rich, gleaming patina. The steel (or tin) back has small spots of very light surface-only rusting. The D-ring is attached as firmly as ever.
This beautiful example would be a lovely addition to any collection!
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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