These unusual (and fantastic!) Victorian cut steel earrings are fashioned in the shape of flies and affixed with discreet silver ear wires. Cutting steel was arduous process that involved taking small hunks of the industrial metal, faceting them just like a lapidary would a gemstone, and then riveting them one-by-one to a base component. So much work! The steel "stones" provided a glittering and less expensive alternative to diamonds during a time when rhinestones were not widely used. The practice was first used for adorning shoe buckles in the late 18th century, and was adopted by the jewelry trade around the turn of the 19th century.
Cut steel jewelry was at the height of fashion from the mid 1700s well into the 19th century.