Antique Buttons Necklace with Vintage Hematite Beads

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This necklace features antique cut steel buttons, c. 1900, on a vintage brass foxtail chain with handwoven chainmaille and vintage hematite glass beads.  

Details and Materials

  • 19" long
  • buttons drop 2 1/2" from the chain
  • vintage hematite glass beads
  • antique cut steel buttons measuring 15 and 25 mm
  • vintage brass foxtail chain and lobster clasp

Origin Story

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.