Siver plate Chatelaine, circa. 1900. This one has an ivory note pad, thimble, scissor holder, hook and pencil.
Length 290 mm
A chatelaine is a decorative belt hook or clasp worn at the waist with a series of chains suspended from it. Each chain is mounted with useful household appendages such as scissors, thimbles, watches, keys, smelling salts and household seals.
The chatelaine was also used as a woman's keychain in the 19th century to show the status of women in a wealthy household. The woman with the keys to all the many desks, chest of drawers, food hampers, pantries, storage containers, and many other locked cabinets was "the woman of the household". As such, she was the one who would direct the servants, housemaids, cooks and delivery servicemen and would open or lock the access to the valuables of the house, possessing total authority over who had access to what.
Younger women and daughters in the house often wanted the appearance of this responsibility, and would often wear decorative chatelaines with a variety of small objects in the place of keys, especially bright and glittering objects that could be used to start a conversation.
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