Dating Brooches by Type of Clasp or Fastening

Dating Brooches by Type of Clasp or Fastening

How to Date a Brooch by its Clasp or Fastening

If you enjoy collecting brooches and pins and are wondering how old is this brooch, pin, necklace or bracelet then sometimes it will be fairly easy to determine age as the jewellery will often be marked with stampings that relate to certain time periods over the years. If however the jewellery is unmarked then there are other ways to determine age. Looking at the clasp can often give a very good indication of when the piece was made. Brooches in particular can be fairly easy to date as the type of clasp used generally indicates the era in whcih it was made.

Different type of Brooch Clasps

There are several different types of clasps that were used on brooches in the  early days right up to modern pieces. Some typical styles are T bar pins, C clasps, Trombone Clasps, C clasps with extended pins, and Locking C clasps.

The T Bar Clasp

The T Bar clasp is known as one of the earliest styles of clasps for old brooches .The T Bar clasps were generally used throughout the Victorian Era. The pin extended just slightly over the edge and had no holding or locking mechanism.

C Clasps popular with Victorian Era Brooches

C clasps were also very popular throughout  the Victorian era. One manner of establishing if the brooch is  a very early piece is to examine the pin itself. This old style C Clasp below shows the pin extending some way beyond the brooch and is then held by a C piece of metal. The extended length of pin helped to securily fasten the brooch to weighty Victorian fabrics.


Trombone Clasps

Trombone clasps are so named after the musical instrument that needs a push and pull to operate. This type of clasp uses this push pull method of closing. It was in use from as early on as the late 1800s. The clasp was generally used by designers in Europe and can be found on more modern pins up to the middle of  20th century.

 
Trombone Clasp

The early C clasp continued to be exteremely popular and was used on jewellery until the early 1900s when the safety catch was created. Earlier versions of C clasps had the longer pins and those used nearer to the invention of the locking C clasps had shorter pins as the wearers clothes fabric became less thick.


 C clasp with shorter pin

Locking C Clasp

These days most modern jewellery uses  the later style of locking C clasp. It is still possible to find modern pieces  using unlocking C clasps or trombone clasps however generally these types of clasps were used on older brooch styles.


Locking C Clasp


 

 

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