Originating in the 17th century as a device for suspending seals, by the late 18th century the chatelaine had evolved to become a major item of jewellery, worn from the waist, to which a variety of small implements, cases, and containers could be attached. It took the form of a metal shield or plate fitted with a hook at the top to attach it to a belt, with a number of hooks at the bottom from which hung a number of short chains. The objects attached to those chains covered the full gamut of household and personal activities and depending on the station of the wearer, could typically include about 4 to 6 from the following selection: sewing scissors, a scent bottle, keys, a spectacles case, a seal, a sovereign case, a vinaigrette, a vesta case, a pin holder, a snuff bottle, a tape measure, a thimble and a notebook. Again depending on the station of the wearer , materials used included gold, sterling silver and silverplate. Nowadays it is common for single items from the chatelaine to come onto the market.
A late Victorian silver chatelaine, open pierced mount suspending three links terminating to a tassel, T-bar and carnelian fob and a retractable hook; Cornelius Desormeaux Saunders & James Francis Hollings shepherd, Chester 1899.
German silver 800 standard chatelaine. German silver 800 standard chatelaine with a coin purse, a hinged case, a perfume bottle, a pencil holder, a notepad & pencil & a mirrored rouge case. Length 23.5 cm. Weight 127 cm
English hallmarked sterling silver chatelaine with putti and grotesque decoration on a five link chain, consisting of a vesta case, scissor holder, scent bottle, folding knife and a pin cushion. (some damage to the central link). Chatelaine Birmingham, 189
An Edwardian silver chatelaine, various dates and makers, comprising a soverign case, a perfume bottle, a cigar cutter, a gold mounted amber cigar holder (damaged) and case, and a miniature hand mirror; a silver glasses case, Birmingham 1903; and a silver
A gilt metal chatelaine and etui, probably late 18th century, finely cast with a belt hook, decorative plaques, side appendages and a central swivelling etui complete with scissors, a pencil, a miniature spoon, a folding knife, a pick and a small scoop, th
A Victorian five Implement sewing chatelaine consisting of a pin cushion, pencil, scissors sheath (with scissors), aide-memoire and thimble bucket (containing a silver thimble by Charles Horner, Chester 1897). Length 37.8 cm
Sterling silver chatelaine with a central sterling latch, moulded links to the chain, including a pair of scissors housed in a pierced holder, a wheel of purple velvet ribbon, a tape measure within a pierced sphere, a thimble cased within a pail shaped hol
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