PENANNULAR          VS.          FIBULA

I see a lot of pins called one thing when they are actually the other. Here are some tips to tell them apart.

If it looks like a safety pin, its a fibula. Yes, like the leg bone. The fibula dates back to ancient Rome. Basically it is a piece of wire with a hook on one end and a point on the other, with a spring in the middle. When you close it, the spring tensions it against the hook.

If it is an open circle with a pin wrapped around it, it’s a penannular. Think of the word “penultimate”, which means almost but not quite the ultimate. A penannular is almost but not quite annular, or circular. It is an incomplete or open circle.The penannular comes from the Celtic peoples, and is found throughout Europe and northern Africa in the Middle Ages. The earliest references I have found date from the Bronze Age.

The way it works is different from a fibula or safety pin. It is actually two separate pieces of wire. The pin has a loop opposite the point. The loop is closed around the ring. You push the pin through the fabric, flip the ring over so the opening is above the pin, tuck the pin under one end of the ring and turn the ring. A little more complex than the fibula, but just as effective.

From there, creative departures abound.

got to: to see the ones I have for sale.