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Bodice fasteners

Bodice fasteners

  • Place of origin:

    Skåne (made)
    Herrestad (worn)

  • Date:

    1820-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sheet silver with applied filigree and granules

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Although traditional jewellery was worn throughout Sweden, and has a distinct Swedish character, there are marked differences between the different provinces. Skåne province, in the extreme south of Sweden, has the richest tradition, and more jewellery was worn there than in any other district. Almost all the Swedish traditional jewellery at the V&A comes from Skåne.

Bodice fasteners originated in the Middle Ages, as a way of fastening the front opening of the bodice. Women made holes on either side of the bodice, and then laced them together with a cord running through the holes, in the same way that people still lace their shoes. Because of their prominent position on the front of the costume, the holes were often decorated with embroidery, or replaced with silver eyelets or bodice fasteners, like these.

Most Swedish bodice fasteners are made of cast or stamped silver. They all have a gap at one side of the design, to leave room for the chain which links them together, but by the 19th century they were purely decorative, not functional. They were only worn with festive dress. On working days women fastened their bodice with plain hooks.

Physical description

Set of four (originally six) silver bodice fasteners made from a ring of wire with an openwork domed motif, made from wrapped wire and sheet silver decorated with domes and granules, partly covering the central space.

Place of Origin

Skåne (made)
Herrestad (worn)


1820-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Sheet silver with applied filigree and granules


Diameter: 28 mm, Depth: 12 mm, :

Descriptive line

Set of four (originally six) silver bodice fasteners (maljor), with filigree decoration, Skåne (Sweden), 1820-1850.






Jewellery; Metalwork; Traditional jewellery (Europe)


Metalwork Collection

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