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This ornate shoe buckle dates to around 1790. The incised metal is copper and the buckle is extravagantly decorated with paste jewels (an early imitation diamond). Prior to the 19th century, men were dressed even more splendidly than women. It was said that you could judge a man’s social standing by how ornate his shoe buckles were. The invention of shoe laces toward the end of the 18th century and the subsequent change in shoe design put an end to the use of shoe buckles. This buckle measures 2 1/4 by 3 inches.

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