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One thing I really love about the 1920s is that the overall style of just about everything was feminine. Not fussy, but feminine.
Case in point – fans. A handheld fan can be a real lifesaver when you are stuck in a place without air conditioning or even just enjoying a day outside but it’s a bit warm and there is no breeze.
Let’s face it ladies, there is nothing elegant about sweat dripping down your neck or you waving a magazine in front of your face.
Handheld fans are still sold and used today, but they’ve really lost their elegance. Compare a hand fan today with the peacock feather fans of yesteryear. OK, don’t do it, there really is no comparison, is there?
Let’s look back at the gorgeous and mesmerizing peacock feather fans of the Jazz Age.
The Beauty of Fold-Away 1920s Peacock Hand Fans
Transport yourself back to the roaring 1920s, a time of exuberance, glamour, and cultural renaissance.
Among the iconic symbols of this era’s opulence and extravagance were the exquisite peacock feather fans of Gatsby’s era.
These fans were not just accessories; they were expressions of art and sophistication, held by flappers as they danced the night away in smoky jazz clubs.
Of course, while peacock feathers were all the rage, there were other types of feathered fans as well in a multitude of colors.
While most hand-held fans would fold away for easy storing in a purse or pocket, some hand-held fans of the times were permanently mounted with beautifully beaded or mirrored handles, such as this style:
The mesmerizing iridescence of peacock feathers, combined with intricate craftsmanship, created captivating fan designs that became an integral part of the fashion and social scene.
Of course, these fans were not merely tools for cooling but extensions of a woman’s personal style and flair. They added an air of mystery, whereby women could hide their faces or simply peek over the fan, hinting at the untold stories and desires hidden behind their delicate allure.
Peacock feather fans might seem a bit over the top, but paired with the right outfit, they fit seamlessly into a woman’s sense of style.
What Does a Peacock Feather Symbolize?
Peacock feathers are symbols of good luck, and combined with another good luck charm, it doubles the luck of the holder.
Who wouldn’t want to be holding a handful of luck in your hand with a simple peacock feather fan?
Many people in other countries, such as India, China, and Japan, keep vases filled with peacock feathers to improve the luck of those entering and living in the home.
Peacock feathers are also signs of hope and rebirth. It’s said that if you should find one, you should rejoice in the good fortune that is about to come your way.
In Hinduism, they embody immortality and renewal, while in Greco-Roman mythology, they are linked to the watchful eyes of the gods!
The iridescent “eyes” found on the end of the peacock feather do very much seem as though you are being watched from another world, don’t you think?
What Are the Benefits of a Peacock Feather?
These unmistakable feathers are prized around the world for their unique beauty and decorative value.
Many people around the world see peacock feathers as having the ability to ward off negative energy, bring joy to the user, and improve or lift one’s mood.
I’m a firm believer that peacock feathers hold some sort of positive energy – I can’t look at them without smiling and feeling a bit happier.
Astrology believers find that peacock feathers are a must for the home since they are believed to reduce the effects of negative forces while increasing the positive power of the user or the space where they are kept.
Whether you believe in the power of energy, astrology, and Hinduism, or you simply love the way feathers look, adding a peacock feather fan to your wardrobe is a positively uplifting experience!
What Are the Different Types of Feather Fans?
The captivating colors and allure of peacock feather fans mean that these typically overshadow other types of hand-held feather fans, but there are actually quite a few other options.
Some feathers are illegal to own, and it varies tremendously by country. For this reason, many companies use down feathers combined with painted or dyed turkey feathers, which are perfectly legal.
Since domestic turkey feathers are white, they can be easily dyed or painted to look like other types of feathers. Swan feathers are also commonly used.
The same is true with the white down feathers from turkeys, swans, or geese. These can be dyed in every color in the rainbow, literally!
For most people, a mixture of feathers and down create a most alluring look and go well with most other accessories, such as earrings.
Other feathers that are often used include ostrich feathers.
Ostrich feathers can also be dyed in a multitude of colors.
Customers who shop for ostrich feathers will be surprised that these accessories usually have higher price tags than other feather options, but this is because of their size! These feather fans are quite beautiful and durable because they are larger than most of the feather fans.
I’m Allergic to Feathers, What Are My Alternatives?
It’s usually the dust and feather mites that people find themselves allergic to, not so much the feather itself, but I know that the very fine, powdery dust that is on most feather shafts bother many people.
Not to worry! There are options for you to check out.
First, you can try a lace fan. These are incredibly dainty looking and feminine, and they come in a wide range of colors and some even resemble feathers.
I’ve also seen some gorgeous Japanese-inspired bamboo fans that have birds or feathers printed on the silk fan blades.
Sequined folding fans or simulated plastic fans that have been painted to look like peacock feathers like this one
would be an excellent alternative since you get the allure of peacock feathers and sequins, which are so very Great Gatsby style!
You might also like a silk and bamboo fan that has painted or embroidered peacock feathers.
Even a beaded or sequined bag
or other fashion piece mimicking peacock feathers can reflect the same allure and magic.
This gives people the illusion of a peacock feather, without you sneezing madly behind the peacock feather fan!
Before You Go ….
I want to stress again that some feathers are illegal to own and sell. The law is very complicated in this matter, so to keep yourself out of trouble, always buy a feather fan from a reputable source, such as the ones listed here.
I would be wary of buying a feather fan off of social media or other “homemade’ fans. I can’t imagine when the last time anyone was arrested for owning a feather fan, but let’s not take an unnecessary risk, shall we?
Each type of feather fan carries its own unique symbolism and aesthetic, inviting individuals to express their personal style and preferences.
Whether you feel inspired by the regal peacock, the majestic ostrich, or the delicate swan, the world of feather hand fans beckons with a diverse array of choices and colors, allowing for a symphony of self-expression and artistry.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.