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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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Een 18 krt. tri-colour gouden châtelaine met alliantiewapen
Mar 11, 7:00 PM CET
Een 18 krt. tri-colour gouden châtelaine met alliantiewapen
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €5,000- €8,000
€4,0000 Bids
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A Chattelaine
Feb 28, 10:00 AM CET
A Chattelaine
by Veilinghuis de Jager
Est: €300- €600
€2000 Bids
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A 19th Century Silver Chattelaine
Feb 28, 10:00 AM CET
A 19th Century Silver Chattelaine
by Veilinghuis de Jager
Est: €120- €240
€800 Bids
A CHATELAINE
Feb 27, 6:00 PM WET
A CHATELAINE
by Renascimento
Est: €150- €250
€1500 Bids
lot zilver waaronder zilveren chatelaine, 4 spelde…
Feb 28, 7:00 PM CET
lot zilver waaronder zilveren chatelaine, 4 spelde…
by Veilinghuis Van Spengen
Est: €75- €100
€350 Bids
Antique Chatelaine Silver tnd Bone Notepad
Mar 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chatelaine Silver tnd Bone Notepad
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $100
$10 Bids
UHREN CHATELAINE , SILBER, L. 8,5CM
Mar 01, 11:00 AM CET
UHREN CHATELAINE , SILBER, L. 8,5CM
by Auktionshalle Cuxhaven
Est: €0- €0
€50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Châtelaines


Veilinghuis de Jager

Veilinghuis de Jager

Vendu Rotterdam

Vendu Rotterdam

Albion Antique Auction Centre

Albion Antique Auction Centre

Renascimento

Renascimento