Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bridle Rosettes

My friend Kacy over at All Horse Stuff got me interested in finding out more about bridle rosettes since they resemble my beloved intaglios. I really love these, but like intaglios, the vintage ones in good condition can be quite pricey. Here are my two...the green one was my grandmothers, which was made into a pin, and the other I strung on a choker of vintage pearls.

Bridle rosettes, the traditional decoration on bridles for driving horses, have a very interesting history. In ancient Egypt they were used to attract the evil eye to the adornment and spare the horse from harm. They surfaced in the U.S. around 1880 as the "Victorians" (late 1800-early 1900) liked their adornments and felt superstitious enough to still want protection from the evil eye. The Victorian era brought forth rosettes with the colorful die cuts used then and calling cards, under thick glass domes. Companies started using them for advertising as did presidential candidates. Most rosettes were made in pairs with the second being a mirror image of the first and measure around 1 3/4". Production of bridle rosettes stopped in the 1950's but started up again in the 1990's. Very few antique pairs have survived over the years. At best you can find a single rosette that is in decent shape and a nice pair is a great find that brings top dollar. Many have been converted into jewelry by converting the backs to pins or pendants.

Show Stable Artisans has a beautiful selection of bridle rosettes:

Fox on the Run Bridle Rosette $235 by Etsy seller shinybycharlotte (she has a bunch of beautiful ones in her ETSY shop)


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