More than just functional.
Hairpins date back centuries ago to ancient China and were used on a regular basis by women to secure what was sometimes very elaborate hairstyles.
The single prong pin was originally made and it came in various lengths and with many different accent ornamnets attached.
Materials ranged from silver, gold, wood, copper, and even bone. Metals soon became the most common due to their ease of bending at the center of the pin.
Pearls, diamonds and other precious stones were often seen adorning hairpins. Some were very large and made a statement all their own, while others had a more delicate affect and were placed throughout the entire hairstyle to create shimmer when the woman moved.
In the 1840s, both single and double prong hairpins were used to secure an updo style in place, and in addition to the pin itself, using an accessory called an Aigrette was also very much en vogue.
The Aigrette was a gold or silver hair ornament that was shaped like an egret plume. Aigrettes were almost entirely set with gemstones and were enameled. It was held in place in the hair by means of a slide or vertical hair pin.
One of the most eternally beautiful and romantic moment for any woman is to take her hair down, shake her head, and allow her tresses to fall freely on her shoulders. All of us romance writers are extremely grateful to the Chinese people for the invention of hairpins that allow this moment to exist!
Classy, sexy, alluring.
That sums up the appearance the woman who wears an updo well. Thick, glossy hair, piled high, reveals a slender, graceful, neck and also makes for an opportune moment in a romance novel for the hero to run his eyes up and down that beautiful profile — for he can look nowhere else.