Loading Spinner

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

See all items

14K YELLOW GOLD CHATELAINE TOOL
Oct 05, 10:00 AM EDT
14K YELLOW GOLD CHATELAINE TOOL
by Potomack Company
Est: $300- $400
$1501 Bid
Loupe for chatelaine, silver.
Oct 10, 10:00 AM CEST
Loupe for chatelaine, silver.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €40- €80
€251 Bid
Ravissante chatelaine en or jaune 18 carats sertie d'émail au décor d'une
Oct 11, 6:30 PM CEST
Ravissante chatelaine en or jaune 18 carats sertie d'émail au décor d'une
by Vanderkindere
Est: €800- €1,200
€6000 Bids
Silver chatelaine with scissors
Oct 12, 10:00 AM CEST
Silver chatelaine with scissors
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
bp parity badge
JEWELRY. Victorian 14kt Gold and Enamel Chatelaine
Oct 15, 10:00 AM EDT
JEWELRY. Victorian 14kt Gold and Enamel Chatelaine
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Silver chatelaine with heart pendant
Oct 12, 10:00 AM CEST
Silver chatelaine with heart pendant
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
AN ANTIQUE CHATELAINE IN 9CT GOLD AND GOLD PLATE, DROP LENGTH 181MM
Oct 05, 10:00 AM AEDT
AN ANTIQUE CHATELAINE IN 9CT GOLD AND GOLD PLATE, DROP LENGTH 181MM
by Leonard Joel
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Châtelaines


Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis

Clarke Auction Gallery

Clarke Auction Gallery

Vanderkindere

Vanderkindere

Potomack Company

Potomack Company