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1860s Victorian Continental Silver & Mother of Pearl Tussie Mussie Nosegay Posy Holder

$ 575.00

During the Georgian era with its lack of sanitation, hygiene and rampant pestilence, well-to-do ladies would carry around a small bouquet of fragrant flowers called nosegays to superstitiously ward off disease and mask the noxious odors of the street. 

In the mid-1900s, this practice of flower carrying was romanticized and the posy holder (or tussie mussie) became a fashionable accessory for any elite lady, particularly if she were attending a ball. 

Resembling a small vase, the posy holder was usually crafted in silver and sometimes had an ivory or mother of pearl handle. Gentlemen callers would give ladies a small bouquet consisting of a central flower surrounded by flowers of contrasting colors. Each flower represented a specific feeling, which the lady would then look up in her Tussie dictionary. 

The flowers were skewered into the posy holder with the long attached pin. The lady would then attach the holder to her hand with the accompanying ring and would allow the piece to swing freely as she danced with her suitor. 

This beautiful posy holder is a wonderful example of a long-forgotten courting practice. Fashioned in Continental silver, this delicate accessory features a basket made of four intricately detailed silver leaves with small berries in between and a mother of pearl handle. 

It has its original pin and ring. 


Total Length: 4.75"

Width: 2"

Markings: None

Condition: Good - Very Good

Two of the large leaves have separated from the base, which is not uncommon due in part to the paper thin silver used to give the basket flexibility. This piece has been repaired multiple times in its lifetime and is a solid piece, despite the breaks. Pin is slightly misshapen from use. Still very usable with care. Priced accordingly.  


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