The workmanship in this chatelaine is quite stunning. The chatelaine plaque features a small silver cherub holding a gilt-lined bowl, sitting amongst engraved scrolling foliage etched with niello. Below this are intricate scrolls and swags of gilt and niello with the two “chains” being decorated with engraved gilt roses and foliage again edged with niello and gilt. These are wide with two hinges on each side and terminate with “swivels” in the form of a closed fist holding decorative rings for the appendages. The back of the chatelaine is of plain silver and the tongue at the back of the plaque has a gilt finish with two marks – one of which appears to be for Holland and another mark for a maker, possibly S.T. Reitsma Sr. One appendage is a beautiful citrine seal which has engraved decoration again with floral and foliage themes. The second appendage, which is attached by the early style of screw-up swivel, is an exquisite small vinaigrette in silver and damascened with gilt scrolls and roses in the form of a little book. It has a catch at the front which when turned allows the book to spring open to reveal the gilt interior including a gilt grille. As one would expect, sections of the grille and the internal compartment show some tarnish which would have come from the aromatic-soaked wad that would have been held within it. Otherwise, the condition of the piece is very good for age. The quality of this piece is equivalent to those created by famous French makers such as Froment-Meurice, Vever etc. It is possible that this chatelaine could well have carried a watch rather than the vinaigrette. This is a piece of unusual 19th century jewellery that could be easily worn to make a most extraordinary and elegant statement. This item appears in my book, “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on page 76. Maximum length 6.5 ins (16.5cm). Weight 58 grams.
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