European Decor & Design Online
Dutch Gold Ear Iron (Oorijzer), probably Friesland, probably 19th century, indistinct stamp, cap with central split connected by a chain, spade-shaped knobs on either side with decorative detailing, 68 dwt, approx. lg. 7 1/2 in., along with a white bonnet and a black silk bonnet in a hat box.
N.B. The oorijzer (ear iron) is part of the traditional woman's costume in the Netherlands, particularly in the Friesland and Zeeland provinces. Originally designed as a bracket to hold a hat in place, the oorijzer developed into a public accessory and display of wealth, rather than a functional item. Typically the earpieces are connected only by a band of material resting over the ears and around the back of the head, not a full cap. The oorijzer here is a larger example that would have been owned by a very wealthy woman.
Body acid tests around 18K. Ear pieces test around 14K. Denting to the top of body and a small portion of the decorative element missing on one ear piece. Ear pieces possibly a later addition.
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