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Victorian courtship required the knowledge of an elaborate system which included the methods of flirtation with gloves. Fans were used in a similar way. Among other types of symbolic expression, the language of flowers was used to convey messages without words.

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This fantastic Victorian “poison ring” is 18k gold, with a central casket flanked by two ram’s heads. The casket, which is enameled in green and set with a large emerald, opens to reveal a sizeable inner chamber that would easily meet all your poison-storage needs.

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Reception gown, Jane E. Turner, New York, 1877. Two-piece dress of claret-colored velvet and taffeta with bustle and train. Self-covered buttons at center front with detail embroidery. Asymmetrically trimmed with draped swags, knotted cotton fringe and self-fabric bows. Hand- and machine-sewn. Miss Turner charged the client $128.33 for the dress, which she wore at a White House reception. Minnesota Historical Society

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