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Bib necklace – modern antiquity

One of the most expressive and striking necklaces of this season is the bib necklace – a voluminous, massive jewellery that covers most of the chest. This jewellery with such an interesting and somewhat mysterious name has an equally interesting history of its origin. Therefore, a little history.

How did the bib necklace appear?

The prototype of this decoration can be considered uckh (necklace-collar) – an ornament that was the privilege of the nobility in Ancient Egypt and symbolized the Sun. Uskkh had the shape of an open circle and was tied or fastened on the back. It was made of natural stone beads of bright and pure colors: lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, malachite. The beads in uckha were interspersed with gold plates covered with colored enamel and smalt inlays. Often the uckh was so wide that it completely covered the upper part of the chest, and of course, it was very heavy – the royal jewellery weighed several kilograms. To make the uskh lie beautifully, it was fixed on a linen or leather lining, turning it into a kind of bib.

From a man’s shirt-front to a spectacular feminine adornment

It was the necklace that was originally a decoration called “plastron”, which appeared in Europe in the 19th century. The name itself is of French origin and it means the same “bib” or “leather apron”. Initially, the bib was a man’s adornment and was at first a tightly starched part of a man’s shirt, which was visible from under a tailcoat or tuxedo, then a detachable bib, which men began to wear instead of a snow-white shirt, fastening it with ties at the back and waist. A little later, a wide, non-knotted men’s tie, which covered the entire chest and was fastened with twelve pins, began to be called a bib. Around the same time, a woman’s jewellery appeared – a necklace in the form of a precious ribbon with decorative elements that covered the chest. It, by analogy, was also called a bib. The female bib was worn like a necklace, but it could also be attached along the contour of the neckline of the dress, thus highlighting and emphasizing it. A little later, jewelers began to make female bibs in the form of a bow or two crossed branches. They were made of gold or silver with precious stones and pearls.

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