A set of three micro mosaic sword themed hair or hat accessories
CONDITION: one has the shaft cut short otherwise good vintage condition with acceptable wear
SIZE: 8 ins (17 cm)
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APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1880s
MATERIALS: metal, mosaic
These pretty ornaments might be either hair or hat pins. However I believe them to be hair pins dating from the earlier Victorian period, rather than the Edwardian era. The shafts are very thick when compared with later Victorian or Edwardian hat pins. Also I believe them to have originally been a set of four fancy hair pins and it would be unusual for this many hat or bonnet pins to be worn at one time.
The ornaments are made in the form of a sword and are three in number. There may originally have been a fourth. At this period large and handsome hairpins usually placed in pairs were used to decorate the evening coiffure.
Each hair accessory is made in gilded brass with an elaborately wrought heading formed as a rapier. This is further decorated with panels of micro-mosaic.
The final picture is taken from contemporary fashion illustrations and shows the hair accessories and hair dressing of the period.
There are various styles of micro mosaic jewellery. This particular type falls under the so-called Murano style which employs small bits of coloured glass and multi-coloured glass rods. The vivid blue colouration and the pretty flowers are typical of this work.
Around 1860, the glass artisans of that city developed their own style of micro mosaic jewellery, employing small bits of coloured glass and multi-coloured glass rods. These pieces have a distinct look that makes them easy to distinguish from the other styles.
Archaeological revival refers to the neo-styles of the 18th and 19th centuries inspired by excavations/discoveries of Roman, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Etruscan sites. One of the characteristics of the Victorian period was the immense amount of “borrowing” which occurred from other periods and cultures. This affected all aspects of the decorative arts, but particularly the design of jewellery and personal adornments. Therefore we have combs and hair ornaments in the Gothic, the Renaissance, the Algerian styles, and so-on.
What this means is that the ornaments were decorated with designs which were felt to be representative of the period or culture in question. There was no attempt at authenticity, and often the ornaments show a kind of pastiche of motifs which were believed by the designer to represent the particular genre.
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Three micro mosaic hair pins or hatpins in the archaeological revival style