Antique Stick Pins

During the 18th and 19th centuries stick pins were used as a practical and ornamental solution for securing men’s neckbands.

Regency dandy Beau Brummell popularised the finely tied cravat as a ‘hallmark’ of the fashionable gentleman. The stick pin was essential for holding the cravat secure and became an essential accessory often made out of precious metals, pearls and gemstones.

Cravats were made of fine materials such as muslin and silk so sharp, dainty, small pins were used as they would cause less damage to the material. The stick pin stems also had more twisted grooves than later pins in order to secure the pin firmly to the fabric. Here’s an example of 18th century stick pin with a fine red paste head bevel set with a crimped finish, typical of eighteenth century paste jewellery.

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The 19th century saw the cravat tied in multiple forms and complex styles and made from more robust woven materials. Stick pins changed to accommodate the cloths and became a little longer with fewer grooved twists on the stem.The head settings also reflected the diversity of the cravat and fashions of times such as nature, whimsy and the celestial.Here are two examples of celestial stick pins.

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Victorian/Early 20th Century Halley’s Comet 10ct Stick Pin 5 cm long
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Victorian 10ct Crescent Moon Stick Pin with ruby 5 cm long

The tie was developed from the cravat in the late 19th century and the stick pin no longer had a practical use. Today stick pins provide a sophisticated and classic accessory to men’s attire and are worn in the tie dimple or on the right lapel of the jacket.

Some of the information for this post is from the excellent Starting to Collect Antique Jewellery by John Benjamin.The stick pins in the photos are all available for sale at my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SheWhoSparkles

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