What are Gorgets?

Researching new types of antiques is one of my favorite aspects of running an antique website. We have recently had a consigner bring us some military gorgets. Previous to these items, I had never heard of gorgets. I have done some research and have come to find we have some pretty special gorgets on our hands!

Are you familiar with gorgets? If you are a collector of antique military items you are probably familiar with them but otherwise they are not too common of a thing to see. First, lets look at the word, gorget. It is from the French word, gorge, or throat. The first gorgets were cloth worn around women’s head and neck in the medieval period. Gorgets like the ones we have up for auction metal are designed to protect the throat (gorge) and chest from sword or other battle puncture wounds. Gorgets can be a piece of plate armor or a single piece hanging from some sort of necklace from the neck.

One of our gorgets, the 7th Regiment Royal Fusiliers Gorget,  is from the 1700’s when gorgets were worn for protection.

7th Royal Fusiliers Gorget - Full

7th Royal Fusiliers Gorget – Full

By the 1800’s, gorgets were mostly worn ornamentally serving as a symbol of rank. This is more likely the purpose of our other gorget, the 1796 Model Officer’s Gorget.

First up, we are very excited to present a very rare 7th Royal Fusiliers British Officer’s Gilt Brass Gorget! This gorget has a very rich history dating back to its creation sometime before 1796. The last identically designed piece sold was in mint condition in 2005 and sold for $12,000 through Stack’s.

Next, is our “1796 Model” Brass Gilt British Officer’s Gorget. This British 1796 Universal Pattern officer’s gorget dates to the late 18th-first quarter of the 19th c. and was worn by all officers in British army. The front is beautifully engraved with the George III monogram – crowned GR, and is flanked with olive branches. The inside is nicely patinated and shows hammering marks.