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Archeologists found the oldest pairs of gloves in the Egyptian Pyramids. As many of the accessories that people wore during different times of our history, gloves were symbols of power. Who wore them? For many centuries only royalty, bishops and higher ranking men and women.
At the beginning they were used as hands’ protection, then as a fashion accessory and then it became part of different customs, rituals and symbolisms.
In the Middle Age, the usual fabric gloves changed materials adding leather or even iron turning into gauntlets for riding, falconry and knight events.
The high demand of leather gloves in the 1100s resulted as the establishment of the first companies of glovers. It was a huge business in the XIV century and the creativity flourished with skins, scents, fabrics, appliques, shapes and colors.
Sometimes they were pledged as a guarantee, if they were flung down it was a challange, and maybe if given meant a token of affection by a lady to her suitor.
During the Renaissance, gloves were fashionable and showed the high class mostly of women. History pages say that Queen Elizabeth I had more than 2 thousand pairs and they were looked after by an special wardrobe mistress. Gloves turned very popular. In the XVIII and XIX centuries, it was a tradition to give pairs of gloves to wedding guests.
After the French Revolution, gloves extended past the elbow. The ladies used them everytime they went out in public.
Sturdy gloves made of leather were worn by field workers and laborers. Glovers started to use new finer leathers such as doeskin, sheep, lamb, calf, hare with embroideries, precious stones and silk threads for the royalty members.
During XIV century fabric gloves made of silk, velvet, cotton, linen and satin were in fashion. They tried to used other plants fibers in order to create new fabrics. In the 1950s a huge variety of textures and colors, counting those from synthethic fibers, appeared in the market.
Now gloves had so many options such as fringes, tassels, inserts of lace, knits, ribbons, flowers (natural or artificial), threads, pearls, beads and embroidered monograms.
Italy was the first country to make scented garments and accessories in the XVI century. They were in high demand until late 1700s. How did they scented gloves? They used fragant herbs like cedar wood, violet powder, myrtle, flowers.