mourning tie pinIMG_1098
Victorian gold, onyx and pearl pin (in Navette on Ruby Lane)

Clothing style dictates the jewellery worn. One of the most significant items of clothing worn by men in the 18th and 19th centuries was the cravat, now developed into a tie. The cravat, which replaced the ruff during the 16th century, is said to have originated from scarves worn around the neck by Croatian mercenaries who joined French troops fighting for the King against the Queen mother. The French pronunciation of Croate morphed into the word cravat. Charles II of England introduced the cravat when he returned from exile in 1660.

By the mid to late 18th century, a society man’s identity was defined in part by the manner in which he knotted or tied his cravat. The cravat was first described as a tie in the late Georgian period. In the 19th century, men wore a collar with a tied cravat, some of which took the form of a small bow. By the end of the 19th century, the cravat had become the tie.

Antique 10ct stick pin, with gold acorn (at Camberwell Antique Centre, Melbourne)

Stickpins were first used in the early 1800s to secure a cravat. Originally, the pins were smaller and quite dainty, but the pins became longer and the tops more ornate as the century progressed. The pins were straight or might have a have a barley twist to it. They could be gold or a base metal. They came with a clutch or bottom case to keep the stick in place and to protect the wearer. Most of these have disappeared.

Antique 9ct Scottish agate stick pin in box (in Navette on Ruby Lane)

Some stick pins are set with diamonds, others with animal heads, four leaf clovers, sporting symbols like horseshoes, whips and fox heads. Many were sentimental, with hair encased in glazed compartments surrounded by pearls, or containing mourning painted scenes.

Of course, women also started to wear stick pins to keep their lace scarves in place or, towards the end of the 19th century in particular, as lapel pins, as hat pins or to decorate jackets.

As the tie became the main item of neckwear for men in the 20th century, other types of accessories were introduced to keep the tie flat and in place – the tie pin, the tie bar and then the tie clip. Collar pins and collar bars were also introduced. Lapel pins, originally associated with patriotic gestures and the military, also became popular, replacing the more formal boutonnières.