Hairpins or hatpins, late 16th century (?)
Probably Venice or Innsbruck
Glass, copper, wire, and gilding; L. 46 1/8 in. (117 cm), Diam. of ball 5/8 in. (1.5 cm); L. 6 3/16 in. (15.7 cm), Diam. of larger ball 1 7/16 in. (2.6 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.1525–27)
These ornamental glass pins, designed in imitation of gold jewelry, were embellishments for a woman's hat or veil, or, more probably, hair. The red dots on the larger pin were likely meant to emulate rubies. Common prostitutes (puttane) owned such imitation jewels, known as bigiotteria, as contemporary documents record, and both prostitutes and courtesans routinely received jewelry and other objects for personal adornment from male clients as payment for "carnal commerce," though whether or not these hairpins originally comprised such an offering is unknown.