Lengthen Your Chains with Antique and Vintage Pins


My Edwardian arrow bar pin with synthetic rub tips and mine cut diamonds to lengthen an Albert Fob chain with a sentimental charm from mid-century

Approximately three years ago, the brooch began to make a comeback as celebrities started to wear them on the red carpet in their hair, on their waist and sensually pinned to dip of a low cut exit-making dress. I did a story for bejeweledmag.com  on what we saw on the red carpet, the runways and the stylish antique collectors of Instagram, who were ahead of their time,  wearing their brooches in creative ways.

Personally, I have always loved anything that can be worn in myriad ways and have been collecting brooches for as long as I have been seeking out antique jewelry.  Maybe it was my magazine and wardrobe stylist background or the fun I had playing with different ways to wear brooches and pins at my grandmother’s house when I was a young girl. And, as an adult, they have always been part of my jewelry go-to pieces.

The brooch has definitely stuck as a trend on the Couture and ready-to-wear runways, the red carpet, and in the workshops of some of the renowned jewelers who launched their brands in a time when brooches were created.  Chaumet, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Boucheron were some of these houses who have gone back to their archives and have developed brand new styles–bringing back the brooch for modern women.  New designers and ateliers are also broaching this imaginative medium.


One of my chains styled with a ruby and diamond Victorian safety pin and worn with two padlocks, one antique with garnets and engraving and one that is vintage of unknown time period

One of my chains with a truquoise lingerie pin and turquoise swallow and heart pendants

A ruby and gold bar pin I posted with my chain and other pieces on IG–I sold the bar pin for someone on IG’s chain

A pendant and brooch I chose for a friend on IG to lengthen and add personality to her chain

Today I would like to turn your attention to the versatility of Victorian lingerie pins, which were originally designed to hold underpinnings and an item that the Greco Romans termed a fibula, which served to secure their tunics, cloaks, and other garments. These quickly became decorative jewels in the Victorian era through mid-twentieth century and came to be known as ornamental safety pins. They would be placed on lingerie straps or worn to hold scarves together, among other creative uses. They were designed with a variety of motifs that ranged from flowers and insects to stars and moons. Some were even encrusted with diamonds and/or set with bezeled stones. Bar pins took another form that could be worn in multiple ways.

A amethyst cabochon safety pin lengthens a circa 1920s hallmarked bar and link fob chains with a tricolor gold fob  with serpent top and a Georgian pansy


Today these pins are as relevant as when they were designed and have become in popular demand as antique chains, particular fob and Albert styles, which tend to be shorter but highly desirable, have caught the attention of period jewelry collectors. These pins can extend the length of chains by one to four inches depending on how long they are and can also act as part of a styling element when adding different charms or one of your favorite pendants or medallions. Here we show some of the chains and pendants with which they can be worn.

And don’t forget you can take them off and wear them as they were intended: to keep a scarf wrapped around your neck or as sexy elements on strapy dress or simply on a lapel.


A range of Victorian lingerie and safety pins