Cut steel jewelry became popular in the 18th and through the 19th century for its beautiful intricacy and sparkle in candlelight. In the 18th century it was very costly (more than gold) because the product was labor-intensive, requiring cutting, faceting, polishing and riveting. A pair of shoe buckles could take two weeks to produce. Generally, the smaller the studs of cut steel, the older the item. There were centers of production in England, very active until early Victorian times. Later, French centers carried on the trade.
This late Victorian shoe buckle pair features hundreds of faceted cut steel studs riveted into a brass backing. Three different sizes of studs are used. Buckles measure 2 1/4" across. Very good condition.
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