1900s Straits Chinese three-pin ‘kerosang’ set crafted with natural diamonds in 20k gold.
These are Peranakan cultural accessories instrumental to their way of dressing and memory. Ladies wore (and still do) semi-translucent buttonless blousons that use these in place of buttons. Daughters received these pins from their mothers; they in turn passed the pins to their children. Sometimes each set of three pins remained intact, other times each child gets one pin. Generations passed and it was always possible (or promised) to match the pins back into their original set as long as who knew who got what!
Older kerosang pins adapted Western Victorian fashion and this practice exploded, resulting in styles adapting and re-interpreting in an enthusiastic manner. This way of cultural fashion evolved right through to the 1960s, from as early as the 19th century.
While there may be plenty of kerosang pins floating around these seas, it appears only less than 50% (ie. available for sale) is captivating. Of course the heirloom pieces remain in families as keepsakes, but a piece such as this set is hardly shabby.
Peranakan jewelry has two branches, gemstone or diamond studded, and delicate open gold work. This is the latter.
Accordingly, these pins are collected depending on whether you are pursuing an old traditional craft or expensive gems 🙂
If you look closely, you will discern a bird motif weaved into the intricate gold work on all three pins. The gold web is locked in a marquise shape, which you can style to wear length wise or across.
Wear with scarf, blouse or even a stiff shirt. Or detach and use each pin separately in your outfit. These pins were also used on the hair like barrettes.
I believe one under-styled use of these pins is with hats or any bohemian, avant garde headwear.
It is always possible to pass the set to your loved one(s). It always seems strange to me something so sentimental is made so gold!