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Posy Holder

Antique and Vintage Posy Holders for Sale

At AC Silver we are fortunate to be able to offer our customers a refined collection of antique and vintage silver posy holders for sale.

Browse our collection below and find the perfect posy holder. Many of which are crafted in sterling silver gilt and derived from the Victorian period.

All of our vintage and antique posy holder vases at AC Silver come with free and insured worldwide shipping and a 14 day return policy.

posy holders for sale
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Posy Holder Frequently Asked Questions

At its core, a posy/nosegay is a small bunch of flowers. In Victorian times, such a posy was often referred to as a tussie-mussie, with particular flowers conveying a specific message (floriography) eg. crocus – gladness, bluebell – gratitude, sweet-pea – goodbye.

Posy holders were created to keep delicate and expensive pieces of clothing protected from water droplets. The handle of the posy holder collected the wet stems of the flowers together, preventing any water from escaping. The holder would be pierced decorated (like a doily) or crafted in decorative floral shapes with a piece of moist moss wound around the base of the bouquet stems.

The iconic ice cream cone shape of the posy holder made it easy for ladies to properly carry the flowers without having to touch the stems or get wet hands. This was especially important when dressed formally, as wet fabrics would look unseemly and quickly weigh down. In the Victorian era, posy holders peaked in popularity, with a vast range being created. More elaborate forms included a ring and chain that gave the user more security. Wearing the ring whilst using the posy holder meant that even a fumble of the hand wouldn’t lead to disaster. Others, like our example above, feature tripod legs. This allows the flowers to be left on display, or simply set down for a moment, without disrupting the arrangement or flattening the flowers themselves.

In Victorian times, scent-soaked cotton balls were wedged into the posy holders which – in combination with the flowers themselves – kept the fragrance very strong.

Posies were carried in medieval times to ward off the plague. They were ineffective, but the sweet smell at least warded off the fouler smells of the time.

In the 19th century, it was clear that posies were not effective at preventing disease but fashion still dictated that carrying posies was en vogue.

By the late 19th century this fashion accessory took a turn and became a statement piece, often crafted in antique silver or metal and would inform a gentleman suiter the lady’s acceptance of courtship. The floral bouquet was pinned into the holder and then for a formal occasion would be suspended from her hand using a chain, so that she was free to dance unhindered. Some posy holders were embellished with elaborate beading, pearls, or other gemstones – like turquoise. There were also cheaper alternatives made from plate or brass, allowing everyone to get in on the romantic gesture.

Different types of posy holders were developed. The cornet and cornucopia designs – the simplest and most logically shaped – were the most common. More unique, flower shaped examples can also be found, however. There were also some pieces with built-in tripod legs, to prevent the floral arrangement from being crushed when placed on a flat surface.

Proud Members of

International Federation of Art and Antique Dealer Associations CINOA
National Association of Jewellery UK's trade association NAJ