A Brief History of Tassels
1 Sep 2009
While many of us consider tassels primarily for use on curtains and graduation caps, they actually have an interesting and diverse history. The name tassel actually derives from "tassau," which is Latin for clasp. Almost exclusively used for decorative purposes, some of the most unique tassels were created by the French. Creating beautiful handmade products at a marginal price, tassels from these French artisans were largely exported across the globe.
Because of the high quality and low cost, not many other nations widely developed a "trimmings" industry. Rather, they simply enjoyed the products coming out of France. In general, however, tassels went through a wide variety of changes and forms. The most simple and non-ornate versions came out of the Renaissance, while larger tassels are more often associated with the Empire period. Not surprisingly, the Victorian Era was responsible for the largest and more decorative and ornate tassels of all.