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 Victorian silver chatelaine, clasp of open scrollwork design suspending five chains terminating with a needle case, a snuff bottle, a pocket knife, a thimble box (containing thimble) and hinged cover, a scissor sheath and a pair of scissors; Cornelius De
A silver chatelaine vinaigrette 19th century, the vinaigrette shaped as a wrapped parcel suspended upon a short chain and finger ring, the parcel 2 cm wide. Illustrated in Cummins, Dr G., antique boxes: inside and out, Antique Collector's Club, Suffolk, co
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