Rococo lady’s shoe buckles. Buckles were made to be attached to the shoe’s two straps, or latchets, securing them over the instep. A pitchfork-shaped double prong, called a tongue, fastened one latchet, and two short spikes on the loop, or chape, attached the anchoring latchet. This tongue and chape mechanism was often made of the same material as the buckle base, eg sterling for the more expensive buckles, but was also made of steel. Shoe buckles were sold separately from the shoes, and were meant to be transferable from one pair to another. They were treated like jewellery and kept in special cases to protect them (http://candicehern.com).
Oval, large hand cut paste stones in Sterling silver (and red gold?) mounts. Provenance: England. From the 1740s buckles began to be seen with real and paste stones. We date this buckles ca. 1765. Paste, which is a heavy high-lead glass, is more easily cut and shaped than diamonds, and could be close-set without the visual intrusion of metal settings, creating a mass of sparkling brilliance. They could be cut and set into any shape or size. Paste shoe buckles, which glittered magnificently in the ballrooms under the candlelit chandeliers and sconces, were fashionable formal wear for both men and women. Excellent condition.
Measure: ~ 7 x 5.5 cm