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While housekeepers' chatelaines tended to be plain affairs, those made to be worn by the lady of the house would have ornamental work on them. Some of them were extremely ornate and encrusted with gemstones, enamelled, tasselled or inset with beads.
This is a Georgian chatelaine which “is a device which clips to the waist band or belt of a dress for holding such items as the mistress of the house would need with her throughout the day. It might include her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette, and a key holder.”
chat·e·laine “shaht uh len” 1. the mistress of a castle. 2. the mistress of an elegant or fashionable household. 3. a hooklike clasp or a chain for suspending keys, trinkets, scissors, a watch, etc., worn at the waist by women. 4. a woman’s lapel ornament resembling this.
MISCELLANEOUS. Chatelaine from London, 1765-1775. // Made of silver, gold, ivory, glass and enamel, chatelaines like this were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Secured to a belt, each object hung from the loop was a handy household item, such as scissors, a thimble, a watch, or a key.
1887, Gorham Manufacturing Company, Chatelaine in the form of an octopus. These were worn on the belts of housekeepers in the 18th-19th Century and held useful household items such as keys, seals, scissors, a watch or magnifying glasses. Though many chatelaines were purely utilitarian, some were beautifully crafted pieces of jewelry.