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[Tidbits] Bow Tie


The year… 1668. Croatian mercenaries in the service of Austria
stalk into France. Shh. Listen. Can you hear them chanting as they
stride? One, Two, Three…Many. One, Two, Three… It’s the
Barbarian Marching Song. They are wearing linen and muslin scarves
around their necks. Are they functional? Are they decorative? No
matter the reason. To the fashion-conscious French of the time
functionality could kiss them in the where the moon don’t shine. The
smell of sartorial splendor was wafting through society. The
French–in mimicry of the Croats–began appearing in public wearing
flowing neck ware of linen and lace… knotted in the center for
accent. They gave these ties the name they had for the Croats…
which was Cravates. And that was the beginning of the necktie.

There is another version which states the first neckwear appeared in
the first century B.C. when Roman soldiers … in the heat of day…
wore ‘focale’… scarves soaked in water and wrapped around their
neck for cooling purposes. Alas… this did not catch on as
sartorial-wear… which brings us back–forward in time–to the

I digress for a fractional moment to assure you all there is jewelry
to be had at the end of this tale… though I really know you all
knew that. I shall proceed.

The fashion spread to merry old England where the extravagant…
pleasure-loving monarch of the day–Charles II–by his own example…
made the wearing of the neck ware a court must. The fad caught on
like crumpets… what the king weareth, weareth I… and pretty soon
all of Londoners were wearing cravates.

If that wasn’t enough… Beau Brummel… fashionista of the next
century… made famous his massive neckties and his innovative ways
of tying them. And the necktie changed subtly and became the Ascot.
And then the Americans saw and recognized a good thing.

And they innovated. And in the 1920’s the Bow Tie became popularized
in this county… with some thinking this too harkened back to the
days of the Croats which they made by taking a square kerchief and
folding it along the diagonal and then pulling it into a bow knot and
fastening it around the neck with a bit of cord.

And then… one day… much much later… a jeweler came along. Aha!
You see? I told you. This jeweler–unknown and unsung–created a
colored stone and diamond bow brooch. It has colored stones of pink
and lilac and blue and yellow and green with diamond borders set in
18 karat yellow gold. Value… around $15,000.

End of tale folks. You wanna see. Go. Look. It’s nice. And its
history is fascinating.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits… click it… and you will see represented on
our pages a multi-colored bow made by an unknown jeweler who may have
easily conceived of the idea from the Bow Tie.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark