As some of the more obscure and intricate types of jewelry, hat pins have been all but lost in the memory of fashion.
Hats in history weren’t always made with practicality in mind. Many hats did not stick to their wearers’ heads without help. This is where hatpins came in.
Hatpins were invented in the 1850’s to pin down straw hats, and reached their popularity peak between the 1890’s and 1920’s. The stems of the pins reached as long as 12 inches at one point.
Hatpins are beauties of their own. Tiny, detailed ornaments on the end of the pins like flowers, leaves or jewels decorate the hatpins. They started out with simple designs and became more detailed over time. The most common was a black or white bead on a pin, a basic design that went with everything.
If you collect hatpins, it’s important to keep an eye out for fakes. Sellers will pass pins that are not genuine off as vintage or antique.
Types of fake hatpins include (source):
Fantasies – hatpin styles that don’t come from any particular period, but are sold as if they are authentic historical pieces.
Reproductions – hatpins that resemble pins from a specific period, but are actually brand new.
Marriages – A melding of new and old, where either the stem or the top is an old piece combined with new.
If you’re wondering about a hatpin, check one of the best sources, The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Hatpins and Hatpin Holders by Lillian Baker.