Item of the Week - A Fine Victorian 'Tussie Mussie' !

This beautiful antique 19th Century French posy holder is not only of superb quality, but reminds us how women would secretly express their emotions long before texting and emojis. Designed to hold a small spray of flowers and worn usually on a lapel or chest, the tradition began way back in the 15th Century. Originally they were called a 'nosegay' (meaning nose ornament) and were intended for the wearer to be protected by the scent of the flowers from the bad odours around her.

During the 19th Century with sanitary conditions improved and a strong interest in the secret language of flowers, these small posy holders would instead become known as a 'Tussie- Mussie'. They were prized fashion statements in their own right, but were also a way for genteel women to express their feelings through the coded language of flowers. For instance a red rose meant deep love, while a pink rose inferred just a passing fancy. Peonies meant bashfulness and bluebells referred to kindness.

And of course where the lady chose to position any flowers given by a suitor mattered as well, with the posy placed closer to the heart a symbol of her true feelings towards that person.

This very fine mother of pearl and gilt metal 'Tussie Mussie' is being offered by The Fancy Fox .

For more examples and other fine antique and vintage jewellery why not check out LoveAntiques.