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c. 1840 Cut Steel Triple Star Drop Earrings

c. 1840 Cut Steel Triple Star Drop Earrings

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Directory: Antiques: Decorative Art: Jewelry: Pre 1900: Item # 1428100
Moylan-Smelkinson/The Spare Room
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P.O. Box 4684
Baltimore, Maryland 21212
tel. 410-435-3738

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This a fabulous pair of triple star form cut steel earrings, circa 1840. Cut steel was a fascinating jewelry genre which became a cottage industry in 18th century England. Its manufacture is attributed to Matthew Boulton, an English industrialist from Woodstock, England. He was known to have hired villagers to collect the horseshoe nails from which the jewelry was made and to employ local women for polishing the nails. The nails were fist melted down to create "studs" which then placed, faceted, riveted and polished. The riveting was done by local steelworkers. It is the only jewelry type that was made by steelworkers with material they were accustomed to working with. Cut steel was designed to glitter and sparkle in candlelight the way diamonds do. The beauty of cut steel jewelry comes from the material itself as well as the way it was crafted, and the sheer genius of so many of the designs. For more interest in cut steel jewelry, the best reading on the subject is a book by Anne Clifford called Cut Steel and Berlin Iron.