Object of the Month: Chatelaine

A Chatelaine is an ornament which was used by both men and women and usually fastened to a belt or pocket, with chains bearing hooks on which to hang small articles such as watches, keys, seals, writing tablets, scissors, and purses. The word chatelaine is derived from a word meaning the keeper of a castle, thus the person entrusted with the keys. During the 18th century, chatelaines were particularly popular. While the finest were made of gold, cheaper ones were made from a yellow alloy and were named pinchbeck after the inventor of the material. Some chatelaines were decorated with repoussé or enamel and depicted biblical, mythological, or genre scenes. Others were inlaid with agate, and toward the end of the 18th century, some were adorned with cameos in a pseudo classical style. The most luxurious were decorated with precious gems, especially diamonds.

The collection at Kendal Museum is French dating to probably the 18th Century. Both pendants are made of semi-precious stones and unscrew to reveal secret compartments. It also contains a pair of tweezers and a pencil. The object is currently on display at Kendal Museum.

Preference; Chatelaine | ornament | Britannica

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