Pair of Earrings thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Pair of Earrings

ca. 1875 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

These butterfly earrings are typical of the cut steel goods exported from France to much of Europe and America in the second half of the nineteenth century. The flourishing trade was bolstered by the need for jewellery to wear during periods of secondary mourning (an interim period between full and semi-mourning in the Victorian era) as well as by fashionable status. In London in 1882 it was reported that steel butterflies had begun to perch on bonnets.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Earring
  • Earring
Materials and Techniques
Cut steel, polished
Brief Description
Cut steel, France, ca.1875
Physical Description
The cut steel earrings are in the form of butterflies with double wings and antennae. The fasceted steel studs cover the entire surface of the back plate. A variety of sizes are used with larger ones for the body and flat-topped ones at the tips of the wings. The earrings are for pierced ears; wire loops are attached to the backplate.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2cm
  • Width: 2.6cm
Summary
These butterfly earrings are typical of the cut steel goods exported from France to much of Europe and America in the second half of the nineteenth century. The flourishing trade was bolstered by the need for jewellery to wear during periods of secondary mourning (an interim period between full and semi-mourning in the Victorian era) as well as by fashionable status. In London in 1882 it was reported that steel butterflies had begun to perch on bonnets.
Bibliographic Reference
Bury, Shirley Jewellery 1789-1910: The International Era, Woodbridge, The Antique Collectors' Club, 1991 Vol. 2, p.695 ISBN. 18514910X
Collection
Accession Number
M.25:2-1994

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record createdOctober 31, 2007
Record URL