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In the 19th century, jewellery was worn with folk costumes both by women and men who tied a red ribbon around the shirt collar or fastened the sides of the collar with a collar stud. It was usually made of an alloy of lead, zinc and nickel (bakfon — a material made of imitation silver). The collar stud was adorned with a bead, although few men could afford real coral beads, artificial or even bread beads were used much more often.

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In the 19th century, jewellery was worn with folk costumes both by women and men who tied a red ribbon around the shirt collar or fastened the sides of the collar with a collar stud. It was usually made of an alloy of lead, zinc and nickel (bakfon — a material made of imitation silver). The collar stud was adorned with a bead, although few men could afford real coral beads, artificial or even bread beads were used much more often. The bead was wrapped in wire with the simplest of techniques (sawing and soldering). Those specialising in making this jewellery were Jews from the Kraków district of Kazimierz and also goldsmith assistants who were trained under the supervision of crafts masters. Men's collar studs were made to order and also sold at church fairs and markets.
A typical feature of men's collar studs was one bead; women's collar studs were additionally decorated with a braid of garnets wrapped around the bead.
Interestingly enough, buttoned men's shirts did not exist until 1875 (until then, even shirt handcuffs were fastened with red ribbons or cuff-links).
The fad for collar studs in folk costumes originated from the gentry fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries when collar studs were made of precious metals (gold and silver) as a decoration of the shirt visible through an opened żupan (a traditional dress of Polish noblemen).
On the one hand, there were peasants, who put on better gentry costumes during good economic conditions, forgetting about the sources of their tradition; on the other, there was an observed idealisation of peasantry widespread in the early 20th century, which made townsmen adapt folk culture patterns. Marked by the richness of materials and ornamentation, folk costumes bear witness to interpenetrating influences, moving between various social classes.
The men's shirt collar stud is made of an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel, imitation silver, composed of a serrated plate with a bead inserted into a serrated crown surrounded by a brass filament, a tube and a round bottom base. The bead is fastened with a wire ended with a metal star.

Elaborated by Ewa Rossal (The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Men's shirt collar stud

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