Glassy splendour

Elegant bow brooch with sapphire blue & white glass pastes, around 1920

The bow has accompanied the history of jewellery for a long time. Corsage ornaments with large bows, set with glass stones or even diamonds, were already worn by the beauties of the Rococo period on their brocade dresses. Then, around 1850, the bow was interpreted as a plastically folded ribbon, corporeal and ornamental. Elegant brooches with a bow motif were also created in the early 20th century. In keeping with the taste of the time, the simple basic form of the bow and its ribbons were often filled with openwork, lace-like details. The present brooch also appears to be woven from lace. Sparkling white and variously cut blue stones sit close together in fine millegrain settings. What shines here like diamonds is glass, but it has been cut and set with the same craftsmanship as real gemstones. The sophisticated design is crafted to move at the bottom, so the bands at the bottom swing when worn. Two imitation pearls swing from the unequal length ends of the looped bands. The brooch is in very good condition. A wonderful piece of jewellery from a time when even costume jewellery still met high quality standards.

As early as 1734, Georges-Frédéric Stras had developed a particularly sparkling variant of lead glass in Paris, which quickly became widespread: the "rhinestone" still known today was born. As a substitute for real jewels, it was used for travel jewelry. But as time went by, glass pastes were considered jewels in their own right as early as the 18th century - for example, because they made it possible to produce particularly large colored stones and rich trimmings that would hardly have been possible any other way. In the last years of the 19th century, glass paste jewellery flourished once again, as society demanded white jewels: For pieces of jewelry that presented countless diamonds set in silver, gladly in combination with luminous, precious colored stones. However, the surface-covering setting with diamonds and coloured stones was correspondingly expensive: those who wanted to be at the forefront of this fashion without immediately investing large sums of money initially wore so-called glass pastes, with whose sparkle the white brilliance of the diamonds could be deceptively imitated.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.