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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Back in the day: Circle pins

Ah, the circle pin. Of all the fashion memories of my youth, it ranks right up there with penny loafers and the bubble hairdo.

In my day and in my location (which was the late 50s/early 60s in Shreveport, Louisiana)...it was called a "virgin pin." I've read that girls wore them on the left if they were, indeed, virgins and on the right if they had "gone all the way," but I don't remember our being that sophisticated, although the picture of me below clearly shows mine on the left, so it's possible we did attach some significance to placement.

Other meanings for the pin, in other places, included friendship and eternal love, while most of the moms back then, no matter where they lived, were so obliviously un-cool that they just used them to hold their scarves.

They came in every price and style, from the cheapest, simplest dimestore version to the diamond studded and designer interpretations. The one thing they had in common was their ubiquity.


Me...late 1950s...the junior high school years

Similar to the "goldtone" one I was wearing in the photo
ebid.com

Irridescent costume style
 (very popular with moms and grandmothers)
jacksonjewels.com

I had a plain one like this too.
ebid.net

heyviv.com

generousgems.com

amazingadornments.com

rubylane.com

ebay.com - mslioness

stonehillcollectibles.com

hpsjewelers.com

11 comments:

  1. My Mom had one, gold tone with this sad little lone pearl on it. She really disliked it (she didn't wear a lot of jewelry but when she did it was the real thing) but Everyone HAD to have a circle pin.

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  2. Wow, I had no idea about the circle pin! And of the very few vintages pieces of jewelry, Mom had one of those.

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  3. @DearHelenHartman and 1950sarh: Yes, the circle pin was de rigueur, for sure. Anybody who was anybody had one...LOL And I think I too got my love of good jewelry from wearing circle pins that the "gold" wore off.

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  4. I have several circle pins, including my mom's, and I wear them frequently. The unembellished ones still have such a modern look; they can be very versatile. Sometimes I wonder if anyone else knows what they are- probably no one else in my generation, LOL!

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  5. @SusieQT: You're probably right. I was talking to my daughter and son-in-law today about this post, and they had never heard of circle pins.

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  6. I came of age in the early 70s, and we all had circle pins, but I never heard them called virgin pins. Probably because by that time the number of virgins was rapidly declining!

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  7. @KPoor: We wore them in the early 60s, and at that time we were all still keeping up appearances. :)

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  8. My mom was talking about this post - I missed it because I was in Hungary. You were such a fabulously stylish (and adorable) youth! I loved seeing this photo of you and what a great post! I love vintage jewellery but new nothing about circle pins.

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  9. @Tanya: The post I think my kids got the biggest laugh about was the one where I compared my hairstyles during my youth to Barbie hairstyles. It really was pretty embarrassing how much I looked like a Barbie back then...LOL

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  10. in 1959, Lamar College and other places in Beaumont Tx, Houston, Dallas, etc a circle pin was a very nice item of jewelry. Worn off center at the neck of a jewel neckline, meaning no collar, round. Or on the shoulder. Or on the lapel. In those days, the fashionable women and those in the know wore only 2 items of jewelry. We girls never knew they were called virgin pins. The boys called them virgin pins. Such as, don't mess with the girls with those circle pins, they are virgins. As in, they were the marrying kind. Well brought up boys had no interest in seducing or deflowering a virgin. They were someone's future wife. A nice girl. Which most of us were. These pins were for wearing when dressed up, to church, a date at night, with high heels. Seldom wore with a charm bracelet or a sorority pin, because it would have taken up the count for your two items of jewelry. Which just about every girl was. Known not virgin girls did not know about fashion. This was an older girl, like in college, or young woman pin. That they were called virgin pins might also have had the idea that nuns wore a wedding ring on their right hand. These circle pins looked like a wedding ring. All girls were presumed virgins, unless married. And most were. The boys were glad, did not want their future wife, whom ever she might be not to have a good reputation.

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