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The main part of the Chatelaine, which the pieces are attached to by chains, looks to be Russian. I believe it is the sign of Russia with the two Eagles with a crown overhead. It is silver plated and not sterling. The sewing pieces are a mix of Sterling Silver, 800 silver and the main piece being Silver plated One piece I cannot find a mark but it tested sterling. The mark on the main piece is a ladies face turning left with a crown on her head. I'll be adding to this as I research.
Chatelaine's have been used for centuries, first starting out with the lady of the house holding all the keys on chains. Clothes did not have pockets, or not ones big enough to hold much and purses if carried were quite small. The Chatelaine kept your necessities together and available at all times. There were Chatelaines for sewing and some for writing and some plainer one that held keys or coins.
Perhaps it was from a Royal Family or Aristocrat! The mark is small but there. I doubt that sterling would have held all these pieces as sterling is beautiful but not real strong. You can see where some of the plating has been polished off.
This Chatelaine holds 6 different implements. Two look like small Etui's (small sewing boxes) but are empty. There is a large needle holder marked sterling and a small needle holder. Th as well, and it has a lizard that wraps around it with a small frog on the other side. They are raised above the silver.
Another implement is a small scent/perfume bottle this is not as rare as the other pieces but marked with English markings of sterling silver. I'll try to decipher the year on it but I'm familiar with this one and it is late from the late Victorian Era. Many people think these are scent bottles for perfume, and I'm sure they were used for that as well, but many ladies had a scent bottle on their sewing Chatelaine's to store clean water in so they could clean the tips of their fingers to keep the garment or quilt clean that they were working on. Some small etui's have little glass bottles on the inside and that is what it is for....clean water...not perfume. Remember, at that time there weren't sinks everywhere in which to wash your hand and most people did not have running water!!
One of the small etui's or boxes on the chatelaine is etched on the bottom with "Vice '97" And is hallmarked. I'm not sure if that would be 1797 or 1897! But the sewing instruments seem to come from different times and made in different countries. The two etui boxes and the smaller needle case look like they could be part of the original pieces that would have matched as they all have scenes in the raised designs. On one of the Etui's there is a scene of a man sitting and the woman is working in the fields. There are two different scenes, one on each side, on the other box. These three pieces with elaborate scenes seem to be French. Hall marks are tiny if non existent, and may be 800. There is a French Revolutionary looking soldier on the small needle case. I find no marks but believe it is 800 as the other box is marked. Not plated as the center piece is.
The pencil is amazing. It seems to be 800 as well, also called European Silver. It is a bit stronger and therefore was used more. 800 silver has silver in it 800/1000 but not to be confused "sterling" which has to be at least 925/1000. Most of you know this but I like to teach to those who may just be admiring and don't know. At one time I didn't know. I digress...The pencil is fascinating and I've never found another like it. It has a large lizard that winds around the pencil and a small frog on the other side. Both raised high above the diamond design on the pencil. The pencil is w/out lead but it turns and seems to work well.
The long needle holder is marked sterling and it seems to match the perfume/ scent / water bottle. They seem to have the same design. Then the 2 boxes and the one small needle holder look like a match, and the pencil is just unique on it's own. So, I'm sure a marriage but a good one!
I think some the three pieces are older than the other pieces, and I'll continue to search for this Russian Hallmark on the main piece. The belt attachment is there as well.
The Chatelaine extends down 13 inches. The sizes of the piece are:
Main piece w/ Eagles/ Crest and Crown is 3 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. Round Etui box 2 inches by 3/4 inch. Larger Etui box 2 1/4 inches by 1 1/2 inch at the widest part. Scent/water bottle 1 1/2 inch tall by 5/8" Long Needle case marked Sterling 4 1/4 inches by 7/16" wide Short Needle holder 2 1/2 inches by 7/16 ".
The small chain that connects to the top of the long needle case and the main part is off put can be place back. The scent bottle top is a bit loose but that can be corrected as well. Great piece and great instruments. Getting harder to find the "good ones".
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Chatelaine Sterling Silver European and Plated Sewing Implements Lovely Pieces
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