Fashionable Heirlooms

Fashionable Heirlooms

A Private Collection of Shoe Buckles

Featured in the April 23 Homes & Interior sale is a wonderful private collection of Georgian shoe buckles. Inherited from the vendor’s parents, and even from their grandparents, they were acquired over a prolonged period with antique shops and Portobello market being popular hunting grounds.

19 April 2024



This collection dates predominantly to the 18th century, but their use started around the middle of the 17th century. As with most collecting areas, small and nuanced changes in shape, style and size help date buckles to a specific period.

They became highly fashionable and enjoyed jewellery-like status, as some of the fitted cases can attest. Silver was a prized material for buckles, with less desirable buckles produced in base metals.


A pair of bright-cut pewter shoe buckles (£400-600)

A pair of bright-cut pewter shoe buckles (£400-600)


Brilliance and pomp were a big part of the buckle, and the paste settings supported this fashion. Foil back cut glass was set into the buckles to achieve a similar effect to diamonds. While we view paste as a lesser material by modern standards, this was not the case in the Georgian period.

The fashion for shoe buckles outside ceremonial or military dress started to wane in the 18th century. Nevertheless, their status as a high fashion accessory has lived long in memory, becoming an attractive area of antique collecting today.


A pair of silver shoe buckles (£70-90)

A pair of silver shoe buckles (£70-90)



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