This stunning chatelaine/equipage is an excellent example of the quality cut steel work of the late 18th century, which still retains an extraordinary glitter that would have looked stunning in the candlelight of the period. It is likely that this piece was a companion to a steel watch chatelaine worn on the opposite side (see image of pannier gown with items worn in this way). The piece may also have been worn with the so-called Macaroni chatelaine of the late 18th century which was a style with a watch draped over a belt and a long chain with trinkets hanging down over the gown. A well-known portrait of Marie Antoinette shows her wearing a pair of chains similar in style to this example. The piece itself has a small waist plaque with three circular steel components which are faceted and at the back is a very long steel tongue (typical of this era) to place behind a waistband. From the waist plaque are attached decorative steel chains with a further medallion part way down. The chains end in two rings and one wind-up steel spring swivel. The current appendages are a decorative steel watch key in the form of a flower, a steel tassel and a large steel seal which has a decorative base. It is possible that this swivel may have originally held a watch. The quality of the steel is excellent for age with minimal tarnishing and this is a beautiful example of early steel jewellery. Maximum length 8.75 ins (22.2cm). Weight 76 grams. This item appears in my book, “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on page 34.
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