V159: 18th Century Bow Jewelry - What to Look For and Where to Get It Today

Jun 7, 2012 10 comments
In the 18th century, bows were a very popular motif found in just about everything aesthetic - architecture and interior design, textile and clothing, and jewelry.  For today's topic, we're looking specifically at diamond/rhinestone bow tie jewelry.  These bows had a certain look to them quite specific to this period, but lucky for us, we have had 200-300 years worth of fashion revivals!

First, here are some examples of beautiful bow jewels of the Georgian period...
Lang Antiques
Rowan & Rowan, 1770
E.B. Horn 
Mid-18th c.
So where do you find similar items that don't cost an arm and a leg?  Luckily, there was a massive popularity for glittery bow tie costume jewelry in the 1950s, the decade of the demure, and there are literally oodles of these items available on eBay.  I bought this one this morning:

vintage 20th c.
Search in the vintage jewelry category for "rhinestone bow brooch" or "pin," as an alternative.  Prices run the gamut anywhere from $0.99 to...lots, but most of these puppies will run somewhere around the $10-$15 mark.  At risk of losing all my watched auctions to you ladies, here are some others I found last night...

eBay seller "myfreerange" - vintage 20th c. buckle/clasp
eBay seller "oldcupboard"
eBay seller "dealerdeb12"
These are just a few examples.  Things to look for:

  • a delicate bow tie design
  • rhinestones/paste stones
  • the more symmetry the better
  • silver - avoid garish brass or too-bright gold. Go for an antique look
Look on eBay, Etsy, and any local flea market or antique shop (though the prices may run higher at anything with "antique" in the name, like fairs, malls, or stores)


  1. Excellent post!
    I had a 18th century bow jewelry addiction not long ago...well..still do. But yes, they are not hard to find if you do some digging.
    Kenneth J. Lane was doing some *amazing* 18th century repro costume jewelry a few years ago that included bows.
    Sadly, I missed out on much of it, but managed to find a pair of the "Marie Antoinette" earrings. If I do a jewelry post in my own blog, I'll be sure to include a photo of those ;-)

    1. I will have to look up Kenneth J. Lane, to see what I missed out on, or what to look for at the next antiques mart :-)

  2. No wonder I have such an addiction to bow decoration! I blame the 18th century! Thanks for sharing these tips :)

    1. Yes! It's totally the 18th c.'s fault, I agree

  3. Lovely post, the 18th century ones are the prettiest.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I always look for old costume jewelry at flea markets too. It makes such a difference on my re-creations.

    1. I agree! I look for old lace collars and cuffs too. It's such a cool bit of historical texture to add a brooch, or collar, or something vintage/antique to a new costume.


Post a Comment

Costuming Blogs: