This rare antique Star Ruby Stickpin is absolutely stunning. A ruby is considered a Star Ruby when a three-point or six-point asterism, or star if you will, appears within the stone. This star is created when tiny fibers of rutile, also known as “silk,” have light reflected off of them in such a way that a star shape is formed. Star rubies are cut into cabochons in order to display the rare star design as effectively as possible.
Only one in every hundred rough corundum that are mined will have a star-like shape present that is as apparent as the color of the stone. Two in every hundred corundum mined will also have a star, but will either have a poor star shape or a poor stone color. The primary source of rubies in the world, Myanmar (Burma), no longer produces such rubies and so the worldwide supply for quality star rubies is now extremely limited.
Stick pins are pins similar to small dressmaker pins, except that they are longer and often have quite ornamental tops to them. Scarf and Stick Pins have been popular for well over 200 years, dating back to the 18th century, where they were worn by gentlemen of the establishment.
As they became more popular, they began being worn by both men and women, either on lapels, ties, or scarves. Most of the later vintage designs were made between 1880-1920. Many of the major vintage jewelry designers made stick pins as part of their jewelry lines.
The practice of wearing stickpins was first done as a practical measure. Much of the neckwear of the times was quite voluminous and stickpins were a way of keeping the tie in place, keeping the wearer warm, and even keeping food from getting down into the shirt of careless eaters!
As the fashion of wearing stickpins grew, it gave jewelers of the day an open canvas for creativity. The first designs were quite simple and were made with just a few clusters of stones or sometimes just plain gold. Later designs were much more daring, with intricate designs, not only in the head of the pin but in the adornment of it with fine jewels.
The stick pin is sometimes mistakenly called a Hat Pin. While the designs of the two are similar – an ornamental top on a long single pin stem – the length of the pin is the main difference between the two. Hat pins have much longer stems and normally have glass beads or Rondelle rhinestone tops. Stick pins have a shorter pin and the top is normally more thematic in styling, i.e. monogram, figurals, flowers, etc. Also, stick pins often have closing caps for the bottom and hat pins normally do not.