A wide variety of beautiful gloves can still be found today, ranging from simple white crochet to colored silk with intricate embroidery or diamante designs.
For the Victorians and Edwardians, gloves were an essential accessory, regardless of the weather. Most men, women and even children has several pairs which were selected according to the occasion and gloves were sometimes changed several times throughout the day, depending on the status of the wearer.
Those who were unsure which gloves to wear on a particular occasion could refer to a book on etiquette. Ladies were informed that to appear in public without gloves was decidedly vulgar and that dinging with gloves on was simply not the done thing.
In the early 19th century gloves were quite plain. Men could choose from kid, chicken skin, white cotton or silk. Ladies wore buff suede or white kid, which was sometimes delicately embroidered. Women of substance wore a new pair of gloves every day because pale calf skin stained so easily. Towards the end of the century, ladies' gloves were becoming more functional and the fine decoration seen in earlier decades began to disappear.
Glove collectors may also be interested in the range of glove accessories - glove stretchers were used to stretch tight gloves, and glove hooks prevented fingers from soiling the gloves when doing up the numerous buttons.
A wide range of beautiful gloves is still available to the collector, from simple white silk, lace or crochet ones to colored kid and silk with intricate embroidery or diamante designs.
More modern styles from the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s can add an unusual touch to a collection. Stylish art deco designs such as felt, suede and new synthetic fabrics are increasingly sought after these days.
You may also want to include knitted gloves in both black and white silk or cotton in a collection. These were produced in the early years of this century around Nottingham, England and a great many survive. They can be found cheaply in markets.
GLOVE COLLECTOR'S NOTES
Like many other fashion collectables, the price of a pair of gloves varies enormously. This largely depends on their age, workmanship and general condition. Rarity obviously also has a considerable effect on price. Earlier examples are harder to find and much more expensive. Evidence of a famous owner or the label of a well known manufacturer may also enhance the value.
Tiny gloves from the early 20th century in leather, suede or cotton can still be found for around $USD5.00 a pair. Victorian kid gloves in good condition cost around &USD20.00. But if there is elaborate decoration such as embroidery or pearl buttons, gloves may fetch considerably more.
Rare collector's items such as expertly crafted 17th century gloves are in a different category altogether, costing several thousand dollars.
To avoid damage, old gloves should be stored in flat boxes ina cool dry place away from strong sunlight. Carefully wrap each glove in plain tissue paper or muslin - but never use colored paper as this can stain.
Gloves from the 1920s, 1930s and even 1950s have become increasingly collectible and now can be found in antique markets and fairs. Depending on materials, condition and decoration details, these can cost around $USD50.00 they are fairly keenly priced because many are bought as modern fashion accessories by young people. Simple cotton or crochet gloves should cost no more than about $USD5.00
CONDITION AND VALUE OF GLOVES
Condition is a particularly important factor when buying gloves. Colors should be bright and even - if not the gloves have been inexpertly or too frequently cleaned. Antique gloves with obvious stains should be avoided unless there is some other collectible feature, such as rarity, or connection with a famous person.
Kid and suede gloves are particularly difficult to clean and could be damaged if taken to someone other than a specialist cleaner. Gloves with recent repairs should also be avoided, although old repairs can add interest. If you buy gloves in less than perfect condition, perhaps because the design or decoration interests you, make sure this is reflected in the price.
Glove accessories, such as stretchers and hooks, can often be picked up very cheaply in jumble sales and from market stalls. A specialist glove dealer will also usually have a few accessories, often in fine quality materials such as ivory or tortoiseshell.