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British School, early 17th century

Portrait of a Woman c.1605-10

RCIN 402736

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The early years of the seventeenth century saw a fashion for exaggeratedly high hairstyles for women, created through the use of wired structures beneath the hair, sometimes supplemented with false hairpieces. The jewels here, worn as bodkins in the hair, are held within simple settings to emphasise the inherent beauty of the stones, enhanced by advances in gem-cutting techniques. Similarly set jewels were found in the Cheapside Hoard.