During the Franco-Prussian war, Alsace and Lorraine were lost by France, c1871. This special oxidized metal chatelaine has a waist plaque consisting of two shields surrounded by crowns, the shields with the crests of Alsace and Lorraine. The enameled word ‘France’ at the top of the waist plaque has one small corner missing to symbolize its loss and a small disc at the bottom of the plaque has the joined letters ‘AL’. An anchor backs the waist plaque and is the theme for the key and seal (the anchor symbolizing hope). The watch is absent. These items were usually made from oxidized silver or steel and this example does not appear to attract a magnet so may well be oxidized Continental silver. Other jewellery such as brooches, pendants and ear-rings was created in this style, but this seems to be a rare surviving chatelaine. Such Alsace and Lorraine mourning jewellery was mentioned in the definitive books on jewellery by Vever and Shirley Bury. The examples shown in the latter book are housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum. This is therefore a particularly special piece as a result of its sentimental, mourning and historical message. Maximum length 3.75ins (9.5cm). Weight 34 grams. This item appears in my books, “Chatelaines, Utility to Glorious Extravagance” and “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years”.
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