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Châtelaines

A companion for both your pocket watch and your watch fob, châtelaines consisted of one or several chains that extended from a woman’s belt or waistcoat. They were both utilitarian in function and yet unique, as each wearer could infuse her châtelaine with her own personal style.

Derived from the medieval Latin “castellanus,” meaning roughly “the keeper of the castle,” châtelaines appeared as early as the ancient world yet came into great popularity in the 16th century. They were used in part to hold pocket watches but also to keep other essential household tools close at hand.

Over time, the wearing of such chains became a symbol of status and authority, as the keeper of essentials, which grew to include keys to cabinets and doors, was typically relegated to the head master or mistress of the house.


Quick Facts

  • Typical châtelaines suspensions included tools like scissors, thimbles (for mending), or keys. At times these inclusions were more unusual, such as a dangling vial of smelling salts or a whistle
  • Châtelaines were also elegantly adorned, with some decorated with gilding, jewels or porcelain placards. By the late 19th century, most major jewelry houses, from Boucheron to Tiffany, included some sort of châtelaine in their line
  • Though the châtelaine was originally designed to hook on the belt, later versions came equipped with a pin, allowing them to attach to one’s dress similar to a brooch

Recommended Items at Auction

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HAMILTON & DIESENGER STERLING SILVER CHATELAINE
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
HAMILTON & DIESENGER STERLING SILVER CHATELAINE
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $700- $900
$6500 Bids
Vergoldete Necessaire-Chatelaine.
Oct 28, 9:00 AM CEST
Vergoldete Necessaire-Chatelaine.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
Versilberte Chatelaine.
Oct 28, 9:00 AM CEST
Versilberte Chatelaine.
by Auktionshaus Wendl
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
An antique chatelaine, white metal and cut steel, 19th century, 19cm long
Nov 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
An antique chatelaine, white metal and cut steel, 19th century, 19cm long
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1600 Bids
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studentische Chatelaine und langes Brustband in den selben Farben
Oct 30, 11:00 AM CEST
studentische Chatelaine und langes Brustband in den selben Farben
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€300 Bids
French Gold Mounted Bloodstone Chatelaine
Dec 03, 10:00 AM GMT
French Gold Mounted Bloodstone Chatelaine
by TimeLine Auctions
Est: £700- £900
£6000 Bids
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JEWELRY. Signed M&M 18kt Gold and Silver Watch Fob
Nov 07, 10:00 AM EDT
JEWELRY. Signed M&M 18kt Gold and Silver Watch Fob
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Châtelaines


Auktionshaus Wendl

Auktionshaus Wendl

Clarke Auction Gallery

Clarke Auction Gallery

Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

TimeLine Auctions

TimeLine Auctions