These unusual (and fantastic!) Victorian cut steel earrings are fashioned in the shape of flies and affixed with purple paste. 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, purple paste, newer silver ear wires
Good - a few spots of minor oxidation, one paste is chipped at the top
1 1/8" length measured from the top of the ear wire, 5/8" wingspan
1714 — 1837
please note:Terms of Sale
Antiques can be returned unworn and in original condition within 10 days of delivery for an exchange or refund minus the cost of shipping. Once a piece has been altered, including ring re-sizing, it is FINAL SALE.