Photo Essay

A Brief History of Tassels


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.

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5 responses

  • Jim Hart

    Jim Hart gave props (1 Sep 2009):

    nice essay, maura

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (2 Sep 2009):

    Oh YEAH! Rad!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (2 Sep 2009):

    Thank you Jim and John :)

  • Dawn Duffield

    Dawn Duffield (Deleted) gave props (2 Sep 2009):

    Yeah!!!!! Duh!!!!!! Love it!!!!!!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster said (12 Sep 2009):

    Many thanks Dawn...! :)

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