This necklace features an antique pierced, cut steel and gilded metal button, circa 1900, and handwoven brass chainmaille in a foxtail weave design. The focal button is 1 3/4" in diameter.
Cut steel jewelry gained popularity in France during the 18th century when King Louis demanded that citizens turn in their diamonds to help fund war efforts. This type of jewelry features tiny faceted and polished steel studs carved to mimic diamonds and individually riveted in place. Similar in appearance to marcasite, cut steels sparkle brilliantly when polished. Pieces can be dated by looking at the size of the cut steels, which were individually hand-riveted, and the number of facets. Older buckles feature smaller studs with as many as 15 facets. Cut steel jewelry fell out of fashion in the early 20th century when production quality declined and other trends emerged.