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Victorian Cut Steel



Morning Glory Collects…


things we love to buy, wear and share





VICTORIAN CUT STEEL JEWELRY


VICTORIAN JEWELRY is as complex in it’s symbolism, sentiment and
design as the fashion, architecture and decor of the time. Worn as an
ornament, a love token or a remembrance, jewelry not only completed the
well-dressed lady’s costume but also denoted her position in society,
her marital status and her sense of self.
Since the Victorian era stretched over six decades, many types of jewelry
came and went in vogue.

CUT STEEL is polished steel faceted studs riveted to a steel
backing to create jewelry and ornaments,
buttons and chatelaines. Popular from the
Georgian through the Victorian eras, cut steel jewelry in
the warm glow of candlelight must have been something to behold. Motifs
varied from the simple to the sublime, with multiple layers and densely
packed studs. Designs could be enhanced by the use of varying sized
studs as well. Each stud could have up to 15 facets, and in general the
finer and older the piece the more facets the studs will have. Made in
both England and Europe, this style of jewelry fell out of favor around the turn of the 19th century, but it never falls out of
favor with me.







VICTORIAN
cut steel grand parure in it’s original fitted box, an
amazing set. It has gilt fringe, chain and cut steel elements blended into
the marvelous design. Each element is decorated with tiny faceted brads and
it is in excellent condition, with only the earring backs being
professionally replaced at some point in the past.

It’s original box has a domed lid and a purple velvet lining, but it is in
as-is condition in that the hinge is broken. Finding an amazing parure like
this one is hard enough, but when you add the original box fitted for this
set, it is even more rare.

Included is the necklace, bracelet, brooch and earrings as well as the box.
In the wonderful book by Davidov & Dawes, "Victorian Jewellery", on page 98,
it is identified French in origin.
View

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#V39060



CUT STEEL

Woodstock was a small town outside Oxford, England, site of the most famous cut
steel workshops circa 1760. A jeweler during that time could have been
selling cut steel jewelry a price higher than gold. Steel jewellery became
fashionable in France, and its enormous cost made it popular to the nobility.
Napoleon, on his second marriage to Marie-Louise of Austria, commissioned a whole
parure of cut steel for his new bride. By 1775, Mathew Boulton was the
most famous steel worker, first in London and then in Birmingham. By the 1790s
the industry was producing its finest work, although the French Revolution robbed
the British workshops of their best customer. Though many shops in England
closed, the French cut steel industry survived to the turn of the 19th century.


GEORGIAN cut steel and
artificial half-pearl necklace, circa 1775-1800, 14 facets on each stud,
glass half pearls set in steel, 17-1/2" chain with 2-1/2" front drop. Most
studs have 12-15 facets. "Fabulous" is a considerable understatement when
describing this necklace and it’s condition. See Dawes & Collings "Georgian
Jewellery, 1714-1830" page 18; Romero’s "Warman’s Jewelry, Ed. 3" page 33,
and Benjamin’s "Antique Jewellery" page 119 for similar pieces.
View

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View
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View #V31374

Since cut steel will rust if it gets wet
or damp and is difficult to polish or clean, much of it has been discarded and a
relative few good pieces remain today. I would date the piece at left between
1775-1800 as the individual brads are quite small. In general, the smaller the
pieces of cut steel used in the jewelry, the earlier the item was. Later jewelry
had larger cut steel brads.

VICTORIAN cut steel
butterfly necklace, 1-3/4" butterfly on 20" chain. Beautifully design
and an lovely motif for cut steel.
View
View
#V32240






Close-up of back showing how cut steel
brads are affixed and riveted.

Close-up of cut steel pieces. You can see the multiple facets on each
brad.

Close-up of back showing how cut steel brads are riveted and affixed on the
top circles of each earring. Note that the bottom circles are a pressed
design meant to simulate cut steel, not
cut steel itself.







GEORGIAN/EARLY VICTORIAN
cut steel bracelet with flowers motif, 7" by 1-1/3". View
View
View #V25842



GEORGIAN/EARLY VICTORIAN
cut steel daisy flowers motif set. The necklace is 18" by 1-1/3", the
bracelet 7" by 1-1/3", early to mid-1800’s. Faceted polished steel studs
were riveted to a steel backing to fashion this type of jewelry. This
set is particularly pristine and especially brilliant as each tiny stud has
12 facets. See Clifford’s Cut-Steel & Berlin Iron Jewellery, plate II
(possible attribution to Frichot); Romero’s Warman’s Jewelry, Ed. 3 page 33;
Benette & Mascetti’s Understanding Jewellery page 62; Becker’s

Antique & Twentieth Century Jewelry

on page 78, and Bell’s
Collecting
Victorian Jewelry
page 41.
View

View
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View #V25841

LACY cut steel necklace with
silver chain, cut steel dangles, 15-1/2" by 1". The catch is a later-added replacement.
View
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View #V29871






VICTORIAN cut steel butterfly belt
or sash buckle, 2-1/2".
This would have adorned the sash or belt in a beautiful way, delicately and
with style.
View #V33733



VICTORIAN
cut
steel belt made of disks and chains. It is a 28-3/4" wearable length, the widest disk is 1-1/2", and this is in very good vintage condition
with every single stud in place. Each stud has from 10-12 facets. "Cut steel" is comprised of
polished steel hand-faceted studs riveted to a steel backing to create
jewelry and ornaments, buttons and chatelaines. Popular from the
Georgian through the Victorian eras, cut steel jewelry,
in the warm glow of candlelight, must have been something to behold, and
that’s why it was worn in place of diamonds. Each stud could have from
about 6 to 15 facets, and in general the finer and older the piece, the
more facets the studs will have.


View


View


View
#V38759


VICTORIAN
cut steel oval pin with 12 to 15 facet brads and older c-catch
on the back, 2" by 1-1/2". View
View #V65265




EARLY VICTORIAN garnet
cabochons and cut steel pierced earrings, a very lovely combination, 1-1/8".
View
View #V31325

VICTORIAN cut steel brooch with banded agate center,
a lovely combination, 1-1/2".
View
#V31881

VICTORIAN cut
steel tops and molded bottoms pierced earrings, 1-1/2".
View #V26605






VICTORIAN opalescent
glass bracelet with cut steel accents, adjustable to 6", 6-1/2" and 7", front 1-1/4" back
1/2". The opalescent stones have a lovely pink reflection.
View
View #V33053


VICTORIAN
cut steel and opalescent glass pendant necklace.
There are cut steel
brads on a gold tone face with cut steel chain, pendant 1-5/8", drop 1", chain
17". View
View
View #V35657

VICTORIAN cut
steel and enamel butterfly belt buckle, as is with some rust, 3-1/2" by 2".
View #V61886






VICTORIAN
or earlier cut steel
and green foiled glass cabochon drop earrings. The
entire length is 1-3/4". Other tinted and foiled quartz pieces can be seen
in the wonderful book "Georgian Jewellery" by Ginny Reddington
& Tom Dawes on page 102, where they date them to circa 1790.

View
#V37477


Both sets shown together.


VICTORIAN
or earlier cut steel
drop earrings with foil backed red-tinted glass cabochon centers. The
centers look like they are rose tinted and foiled underneath, typical
for this era, and the crackles you see are decorative rather than damage. In other words, the
top of the cabochons are perfectly smooth with no damage at all. The
earring itself is 1-5/8" and the hoops are 1/2" above that. Tinted
and foiled quartz pieces can be seen in the wonderful book "Georgian Jewellery"
by Ginny Reddington & Tom Dawes on page 102, where they date them to
circa 1790.

View


View
#V38627





VICTORIAN
belt buckle with cut steel buckle set on gold tone, 2-7/8".
View #V35045


VICTORIAN
cut steel insect pin with gold tone wings, 1-1/2" by 1". As can be seen
in the photo, there is a bit of rust on the cut steel, but not enough to
detract from this wonderful antique pin, circa 1880, and the safety
catch is newer than the brooch itself, changed at some point to ensure
safety in wearing. Each brad has from 5-8 facets, and the entire pin is
hand made, including the etched designs on the wings.

View


View
#V39187


CUT STEEL
frame of gold metal and cut steel brads.

View


View
#V39187








VICTORIAN
cut steel hook and eye two-piece sew-on closure,
total 3" by 1-1/2".

View


View
#V37805

This second photo is from an old movie, and it shows a similar piece
used as a bracelet. Wish I had made note of which movie it was.

VICTORIAN cut steel earrings, 1-7/8".
Cut steel is polished steel faceted studs riveted to a steel
backing to fashion jewelry and ornaments,
buttons and chatelaines. Popular from the
Georgian through the Victorian eras, cut steel jewelry in
the warm glow of candlelight must have been something to behold as it
reflects the light beautifully.
View #V33940


VICTORIAN
cut steel stars brooch and earrings, brooch 1-5/8" dangle
pierced earrings 1-1/4" total length, each star 5/8".

View
View View #V37501






VICTORIAN silver tone cut steel pendant, round portion 1-1/2" and
total length 2-1/8".

View
#V37603

VICTORIAN cut steel hair ornament which
is 4" long by 7/8" wide. A wonderful selection of cut steel combs can be seen in
the book "Victorian Jewelry: Unexplored Treasures" by Davidov and Dawes, page
124, which dates them circa 1850.

View


View
#V38222



VICTORIAN
cut steel brooch with brads showing 12-15 facets in the early
Victorian style, each hand riveted into a heavy back, 1-3/4".

View
#V37500






VICTORIAN cut steel bracelet
with overlapping closure, safety chain, 6-3/4" wearable size, front width
3-1/8", back 5/16". Other cut steel bangles can be seen in
the book, "Bijoux" (Italian edition) by Deanna Cera on page 28. View
#V35589


VICTORIAN
cut steel brooch and earrings set in a fitted box. The brooch
is 1-3/4" by 1" and has brads with 8-12 facets except the center, which has
15 facets. The earrings are 1-1/4" from hoop top to cut steel bottom and
brads with 12 facets. The is a Victorian hump-back box with fittings inside
to hold the pieces and lined with blue velvet and silk.

View


View


View
#V38487


VICTORIAN
early 1800’s cut steel bangle, 7" by 1/3". This fastens at the
side and has a safety chain. There is light corrosion on the brads and one
end is lifting a bit, though stable, so this is priced accordingly.
#V38014








VICTORIAN
cut steel round brooch with about 12 facets to each of the
larger brads, all hand made, 2". There is a very small amount of corrosion
in some areas, much more visible in the magnified photo than in person.
Woodstock,
site of the most famous cut steel workshops circa 1760, was a small town
outside Oxford, England. A jeweler during that time could have been selling
cut steel jewelry a price higher than gold!


View #V37956


VICTORIAN cut steel branch
brooch, slightly curved in design, 2-3/4".
View #V35416


VICTORIAN cut
steel shoe buckle.
View
View #V26459a





VICTORIAN cut steel and
mother-of-pearl leaves brooch set on gold tone, Victorian c-catch on the
back, 3-1/2". View
#V36086


VICTORIAN

cut steel bracelet with mosaic flower bouquet panels, made for a smaller
wrist at 6-1/4" long and 1-1/3" wide at the front. Each panel has a colorful
bouquet on it, and all of them are just lovely, but the most amazing thing
is that even with a loupe, I can see no missing parts at all.

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#V40755


VICTORIAN cut steel arrow
clip with hand cut two prong fastener, 6-1/2" by 1-1/3" at the widest.
Because the prongs are fairly wide, this can only be worn on a sweater or
cloth with a very open weave. Each prong is 1/8" wide at the top.
View
View #V36091








VICTORIAN cut steel and
mother-of-pearl stylized arrow pin set on gold tone, c-catch closure, 3".
View #V36082

VICTORIAN cut steel links
brooch with later added safety catch and original extra long Victorian pin
stem, 3-1/3". This is slightly bowed, perfect for a lapel. Each hand made
brad has about 12 facets.
View
#V36083

VICTORIAN cut steel wide
brooch with later added safety catch, 4". Slightly bowed so perfect for a
lapel. View #V36084







VICTORIAN cut steel arrow
brooch with faceted black glass and tiny etched leaves end, all set on gold
tone, 3-3/4". One tiny brad is missing, so priced as is. This has
a later added c-catch
on the back. I wonder if this was meant to be a Halley’s comet brooch. View
#V36088


VICTORIAN cut steel and pale
yellow glass florets, 3". It has a Victorian c-catch on the back.
View
View #V36090


VICTORIAN cut steel pin
in gold tone, 4-1/4". This has a Victorian c-catch on the back. It has
a comet like shape which is really lovely, perhaps for Halley’s comet.
View #V36085






VICTORIAN cut steel three-row
bangle 2-5/8" size 8-1/4" at around the inside by 1/4" wide.
View #V29758

VICTORIAN "MG France"
marked cut steel buckle, 2" by 2-5/8".
View
View #V29768



VICTORIAN
cut steel horseshoe pin for good luck, 1-1/8".
View

#V25994







VICTORIAN cut steel belt
buckle, 1-1/4" by 1-1/4".
View #V26459e

This
VICTORIAN LADY
wears a cut steel clasp at her collar and buttons on her
lapel. View


VICTORIAN
cut steel clasp. View
View #V26459c





VICTORIAN cut steel three-row
bangle 2-5/8" size 8-1/4" at around the inside by 1/4" wide.
View #V29758

VICTORIAN "MG France"
marked cut steel buckle, circa 1900, 2" by 2-5/8". A similar piece
can be seen in Mora’s "European Jewelry" on page 18.
View
View #V29768








VICTORIAN
cut steel shoe buckles x 2, 2-1/4" by 1-1/2" circa 1870.
View
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View #i19839


VICTORIAN
silver tone circa 1900 shoe buckle with pressed detail made to look
like cut steel, 3-1/4".
View
View
#i25836

VICTORIAN
CT sterling molded cut steel look belt buckles, 3-1/3" by 1-3/4" total.
View
View
View #i19840






VICTORIAN Fishel & Nessler cut steel shoe buckles circa 1900, each
2-1/4" by 1-7/8".
View
View
View #V34867


MADE in FRANCE
cut steel shoe buckles circa 1900, each 2-1/3" by
2-1/8".

View


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View
#V37619

VICTORIAN cut steel buckle, 3" by 1-5/8".
View #Q28182






VICTORIAN cut steel small buckles,
set of 2.
View
View #V29735

VICTORIAN cut steel
earrings. These may have originally been buttons, as the screw-back fittings
would have been added in the first quarter of the 1900s.
View #V29736

VICTORIAN cut steel horseshoe
pierced earrings circa 1890, 1/2". View
#V29439





VICTORIAN cut
steel very delicate belt buckle with scrolled design, 2-1/4" by 2". View
#V26459d

LADIES’ belt or sash buckles in florals, cut steel and
sterling.
"Steel buckles, diamond cut, bright finish."
A.C. Becken Catalogue, 1902



VICTORIAN
cut steel shoe buckle with star and foliate motif. View
#V26459b





VICTORIAN cut steel buckle, rectangular, 2-1/2" by 1-1/2".
View #Q28183

VICTORIAN cut steel buckle, tiny rectangle, 1-3/4" by 1". #Q28184

VICTORIAN cut steel buckle, unusual triangular, 3-3/4" by 2".
#Q28185





VICTORIAN cut steel shoe buckles, set of 2, France, 2-1/2" by 1-5/8"
each. View #Q28186


VICTORIAN cut steel
two-piece buckle with stars, total width 4" by 1-1/2".
View
View
View #V62870


VICTORIAN feathery cut steel
brooch, a dainty delight, 3".
View
#V64796





CHATELAINE top, part of the set #a28587

SEWING
CHATELAINE
3-1/2" belt clip chatelaine of steel and 12-facet cut
steel brads holding 11" chains with a 1-1/2" thimble and bucket holder,
1-1/2" wheel type pin cushion, 2-1/8" aide memoir with 2 thick bone
pages, 3-1/3" scissors, 2-3/4" tube holding a bone handled 2" punch and
2-5/8" retractable pencil with thick lead, circa 1820. A more
sophisticated cut steel chatelaine can be seen in "Jewels & Jewelry" by
Clare Phillips on page 65.
View
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View
#a28587

CHATELAINE scissors, part of the set #a28587







VICTORIAN cut steel chatelaine notebook, part of the set #a29100


VICTORIAN 1800s cut steel
sewing chatelaine, 2-5/8" top with 7-1/2" to 10" chains, 1-1/2" pin cushion
still with 2 hand-made pins, 2-1/2" pencil, 1-3/4" whistle, 1-5/8" wax, and
1-1/8" glove hook/corkscrew for getting corks out of perfume bottles, 7/8"
measuring tape that winds in and a notebook with 2" by 1-1/3" ivory pages,
cut steel brads 10-15 facets.
View
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View
View #Q29100

VICTORIAN cut steel chatelaine pin holder, part of the set #a29100


VICTORIAN steel
sewing chatelaine, 2" horse shoe clip with 16" total length, flip-out
glove hook 1-5/8"; thimble bucket 1-1/4"; needle box 2-5/8".
View
View
View
View #V32611

VICTORIAN chatelaine, cut
steel housekeeper’s chatelaine with 2" clip; 11" chains faceted cut
steel links; 2" leather needle case; 2" horse shoe shaped aide memoire,
one end missing; 12" chains with 1-1/3" stamp box; 3-1/2" scissors with
illegible mark; 3-1/2" "Thornhill" pencil; 5-1/2" candle scissors; 1"
eraser and 3" brass scale.
View
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#Q32493


VICTORIAN
silver and cut steel chatelaine holder, 2-3/4".
View
#V27615


REFERENCES:
Georgian Jewellery,
1714-1830
by Dawes & Collings

Victorian Jewelry by Davidov & Dawes
Warman’s Jewelry, 3rd Edition
by Christie Romero, pages 30-33


Jewels
and Jewelry

by Clare Phillips and Ian Thomas

"Fascination: British & Continental Jewelry 1785-1885"