A mid-nineteenth century cut steel hair comb/pin featuring a wheat sheath finished with a bow and set with an articulating celluloid hair comb, 3.5 in tall by 1 in wide, comb length 2 in, circa 1850. Cut steel jewelry originated in eighteenth century england, but enjoyed popularity throughout the late nineteenth century. Demand was further catalyzed when napoleon gifted his second wife, marie louise, a parure of cut steel jewelry on the occasion of their marriage.
Structurally, these jewels are formed from faceted and polished studs which are riveted into a back plate with pre-drilled holes. The finest examples of cut steel jewelry feature three-dimensional designs with a variety of stud sizes and shapes, but all pieces were highly polished to provide high reflectivity not unlike the sparkle of diamonds under candlelight. Unfortunately for the collector, much cut-steel jewelry has not survived until today due to being stored in poor conditions leading to rust.