Antique 19th century French .800 silver lady's chain mail purse. Patterned with clovers. Exquisitely decorated with with openwork and engraved detailing. Handle features a kiss-lock closure. Suspended from a linked chain. Beautifully constructed, heavy with good weight. Measures 5 5/8" across the frame and the purse is 5 5/8" height, sans chain. Measures approx. 10 5/8" total length with the chain. Weighs 186 grams. Marked with the French Weevil mark, in use from 1893 to indicate a silver content of .800/1000. The weevil in a rectangle mark was a French import mark for silver items from French treaty countries/colonies and indicated at least 80% pure silver content, close to .925 sterling. In good condition with general wear.
These silver chain mail link purses were a necessary fashion accessory during the Victorian era and fashionable well into the early 1900's / Edwardian. A lady could stow a nice amount of coin money for errands and light shopping. The larger purses, such as this one offered here, are larger capacity to accommodate more substantial funds in addition to essentials for a debutante's first outing or lady's evening out. Today, they are great accessories for weddings and parties. The silver chain mail is easy to match and these purses were so beautifully crafted by skilled silversmiths. A charming wedding gift or choice as a bride's "something old." And for doll collectors, the smaller size purses make lovely decorative objects for accessorizing dolls, too.
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