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Monday, October 31, 2011

Off the Chain

Chatelaines are one of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry to have evolved out of the Edwardian and Victorian eras. The name chatelaine historically comes from the french word châtelaine which previously referred to the female owner or wife of the owner of a rather large home, manor, or castle.  These ladies were the keeper of the keys. The term was later used for the decorative belt hook or clasp that was worn at the waist with a collection of suspended chains. As time progressed these decorate pieces were, instead of keys, scissors, a watch, thimble, vinaigrette, notebook, makeup compacts, and much more that hung from the ornate appendages of a chatelaine. 

Chatelaines were not only utilitarian, but were quite beautiful. As in all things, the chatelaine evolved into decorative jewelry that reflected the status of the woman who wore it. The chatelaine either draped over or attached to the woman's belt. The long chains dangled down her skirt and everything she needed was close at hand. The beautiful objects that hung from these glorious appendages are what we like to collect and they are "Off the Chain"

Paula's great-grandmother's coin purse with makeup compact was one of her mother's favorites to carry to the dances in college. Although the mirror is cracked and the pressed powder is gone, the memories will last forever.

This sterling silver compact belonged to Paula's grandmother; her initials are monogrammed on the cover. We still can't figure out how these women applied face powder with such a small applicator. 

A Victorian woman never left home without her money. In England they used sovereign cases.

You just slide the coins in and out with ease and grace. Couldn't find a shilling so a nickel had to do.

These women knew how to socialize in style. Not even a headache could keep them at home. So just in case, they placed their pills in beautiful silver pill boxes and attached it to the chatelaine. 

Who are we kidding? This beautiful repoussé object was most likely a snuff box.

If you must hem something, then you may as well place your needles in a sterling silver repoussé sewing safe. 

Chatelaines were also the de rigueur for evenings as well. A lady’s evenings centered around dinner and dancing. The expression, “My dance card is full”, derived from actual fact. This is a dance card from the late 1800’s.  It fans open to reveal thin sheets of ivory or celluloid upon which the lady kept the names of the suitors she’d promised a dance. Quaint, isn’t it?

These little gems are propelling pencils, which were used to write on the dance card. They were invented in 1822. I love these two sparkly ones with the jeweled tops. (It’s always about the bling!)

Another necessary item of the day was a vinaigrette. Usually made of silver, these small boxes housed cotton that had been soaked in the lady’s perfume. The perforated top allowed the lady a quick sniff to combat offensive odors, which were common since the preferred mode of transportation was the horse and carriage!

This vesta case or match safe was a common item to carry on a chatelaine. The bottom has a ribbed edge on which to strike the match. Remember the only form of heat was a fireplace, so matches were a handy tool.

As we exit for the dance, we’ll leave you with this evening chatelaine. It has a small flask for perfume, a small coin holder, a dance card and propelling pencil, as well as a small compact for powder. What more could a lady need?  We hope you’ve enjoyed this “Off the Chain” post.


Patti & Paula

This week we are partying with the following fine folks:
Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Masterpiece Monday @ Boogieboard Cottage
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Making The World Cuter Monday @ Making The World Cuter
Mingle Monday @ Add a Pinch
Show Off Your Cottage Monday @ The House in the Roses
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ Coastal Charm
Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Club G.W. @ Charm Bracelet Diva
It's Party Time @ It's So Very Cheri
Talent Tuesday @ Vintage Wanna Bee
Time to Shine @ A Diamond in the Stuff
Anything Goes @ Type A
Market Your Biz Blog Party @ Homemaker on a Dime
Twice Owned Tuesday @ Creating a House of Grace
Take a Look Tuesday @ Sugar Bee
Show and Tell @ Blue Cricket Design
Works for Me Wednesday @ We are THAT Family
Open House Party @ No Minimalist Here
Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch to Yours
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Vintage Thingie Thursday @ The Coloradolady
Pearls and Lace Thursday @ Faith, Grace, and Crafts
Pin'Inspirational Thursday @ The ArtsyGirl Connection
Show Me What Ya Got@Not JUST a Housewife
Home Decor & Organizing Link Party @ Organize and Decorate Everything
Create and Share @ Trendy Treehouse
 Homemaking Link-Up Weekend @ Hope in Every Season
Your Whims Wednesday @ My Girlish Whims
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Fridays Unfolded @ Stuff and Nonsense
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence

Potpourri Party @ 2805

Weekend Wander @ While He Was Napping
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Features & Simply Creations @ Simple Home Life
Friday Flair @ Whipper Berry
Tuesday Link Party @ A Bowl Full of Lemons
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence
Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Tickled Pink @ 504 Main
Feature Yourself Friday@ Finger Prints on the Fridge
BFF Open House Link Party@ The Answer is Chocolate


Angela said...

I love this post and the information about the beautiful items that hang from your chatelaine.
I always keep my eye out at auctions for one as pretty as yours, till now I haven't come across one yet.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.

Scrappy Pink Corner said...

Your post get better and better each time. I look forward to them weekly. Love all the info you have for us followers. Helps me for when I go to garage sales and estate sales. Thanks for the info.
Thanks for sharing.
Happy Halloween.

Debbiedoos said...

Hi there my friend. This week is NOT the newbie party. I have been announcing I was hosting a magazine copy cat challenge in lieu of IT this week. See you next week. Thank you:)

Grammy Goodwill said...

I always enjoy these posts and what I learn from them. I had read about chatelaines, but I'd never seen any examples. I'd also read about dance cards and always wanted to go to a dance where they were used. (Maybe my card would have been empty, and then I wouldn't have liked that idea!) How blessed Paula is to have such keepsakes.

Jen said...

What a beautiful collection of treasures you have! When the garage sale season starts up again in my region I'll have to be on the lookout for some of these beautiful things :) Thank you for sharing. I found you on Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper. Won't you join me for a spooky Halloween tale and recipe?

Julie Marie said...

Bonjour Patti and Paula...what an absolutely exquisitely enchanting post today... I love each and every one of these cherished treasures and the memories that go with them... oh how I want to start a collection now... thank you for letting me borrow yours for the dance this evening... however, I shall place just a snippet of brandy in the parfum flask instead... just for medicinal purposes, you know... xoxo Julie Marie

Anonymous said...

LOL! I imagine the perfumed containers also came in handy during the summer months, as deodorants hadn't been invented yet!

This was a lovely post!

Hugs, Diane

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

What a beautiful post! I always enjoy reading the history behind your pretties! It is just amazing how something so beautiful could have had such utilitarian purposes! It just speaks to the elegance of people years ago! Thanks so much for sharing!!

Anna at the Doll House said...

You really show how elegantly ladies used to keep order in the small necessities of life. My favourites are vinaigrettes which come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and although they are of no practical use today, I just love collecting them.


Barbara Jean said...

Wonderful post. Very beautiful and interesting.

regarding inquiry about book for my white Wednesday post a couple of weeks back:

The name of the book is "Golden Links..Mother Home and Heaven."
Wonderful book.

barbara jean

Barbara Jean said...

ooops!!! wrong book! will get you title of one with mice. =)

barbara jean

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing these beautiful heirlooms, and treasures. Can't pick a fave. It's all off-the-chain.

CraveCute said...

Thanks so much for visiting and joining my blog! I am so happy to find yours! I too love vintage and Victorian treasures. Beautiful post with wonderful information and photos! ~ Diane

Denise Pacurar said...

Wow, this is such a beautiful post! I love the items from your chatelaine! So much wonderful history!!

xoxo Denise

lisa Moran, Bilancia Designs said...

Your pictures are absolutely beautiful (including your header--gorgeous!). What a wonderful treat to read about these beautiful items from the past.
I live in a big, old Victorian from the 1800's that once belonged to my beloved grandparents. I am so honored to live here...
I adore anything from the Victorian period and it's always fun to find new treasures to add to my home.
Your blog is not only unique but simply beautiful... and I must say, I am HOOKED. :)
Have a beautuful week~
Bilancia Designs

Shell said...

What a beautiful chatelaine. I always wanted to go to a dance and have my dance card filled.

French-Kissed said...

Hi Patti and Paula,

Such an enjoyable post on these enchanting lucky you are to have some of them from your own family...loved learning the names as well as all of the practical uses for these beautiful pieces. All the best,


Unknown said...

Hello there:)
Thanks for stopping my my blog today and leaving your lovely comment.
By the way, I love, love, love your blog. I am so a follower of it now.:)

Boxwood Cottage said...

Well now I wish I was a Victorian lady with a chatelaine of lot's of pretty silver bling items hanging from my long skirts. Very interesting post!
Patti thank you for always stopping over at my blog and leaving me such lovely comments! It's a pleasure to read you!
Carola x

john said...

Well you learn something new every day !! Thanks for such an interesting post..I love the idea of the vinaigrette ,what beautiful treasures. Thanks for visiting and following me too !!
Gail x

The French Hutch said...

I love all things victorian and your blog is so pretty and informative. I love all the cases and what wonderful treasures they are. My sister gave me one of these for my B'day and its a perfect size to keep in my handbag for my credit card and drivers license, I love it. Thanks for sharing your treasures from the past. I love your blog.

The French Hutch

ANNE said...

Oh how beautiful these pieces are & how wonderful that you have them! Thank you for sharing!!

Our Hopeful Home said...

What gorgeous pieces! I can't decide which ones I like the most! And such interesting history, you guys always provide such great background to your collections. Eve better that some of the pieces are family heirlooms ~ love that! Have a great week.


Sandy and Joe/rhubarb reign said...

Hi ladies! Thanks for your nice comment on our recent post. It is a pleasure to make your virtual acquaintance. (: Found your post really interesting. I love the Victorian period. Such attention to detail. Come visit us again soon. xo

Jennybug said...

I loved this post. It is beautiful and informative.

Just Stuff From a Boomer said...

I, too, enjoy the history of the pieces you show. Manners and customs were so formal back in those days. A lady's good reputation was always at stake. There is much to be said for that still. Thanks for sharing such pretty pieces.

Brandi said...

Such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing such personal history!

Treat and Trick said...

Thanks for sharing those beautiful things and its history behind them. Look forward to another great post....

lvroftiques said...

As always a visual feast my friends! What a fabulous collection! I have long tried to collect a few chatelaine items but they're bloomin' expensive! Especially the wonderful little sewing sets in silver *sighs* And I still think a vinegrette would come in handy quite often *winks* Loved everything! Vanna

Red Rose Alley said...

Wow, those are so pretty, with some interesting facts I didn't know. The vinaignette was my favorite because I thought it was so unique looking. The Victorian ladies were so charming, and it is an era that I have always loved. Thank you for an interesting and wonderful post.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

Bohemian said...

What a Beautiful Collection and so informative! Thank you for coming by my Post-Halloween Post. I'm thinking perhaps Families might have chosen Events over door-to-door Trick-Or-Treating? My G-Kids were fortunate to be able to do both.

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Palomasea said...

Bonjour Patti (and Paula),

Thank you so much for visiting me! How wonderful, for now I have discovered your gorgeous blog!
This post is fabulous, all of these chatelaine beauties. And I love the vintage photographs. What treasures.
I, too, began blogging last May. When the creativity asks to be released, there really is no choice, is there?:)

Merci and blessings to you..
- Irina

Karen Valentine said...

Facinating!!! Wow, those items are absolutely beautiful and I learned something I didn't know!!! What a wonderful post! Hope you girls are doing well!!

Blue Creek Home said...

Wow - the ladies really did have style then!! love the sewing and pencil cases and the fancy snuff box is just adorable, but I'm thinking when that thing came out, the fancy lady using it was hiding behind the velvet draperies!

Curtains in My Tree said...

I have always loved the old chatelaines and when I didn't want one they were at all the quilt shows in Kentucky.
I made myself one and showed it on my blog when I first started my blog. I went back to see it and a lot of my pictures are gone? I tell you what i don't understand this blogger site (any help)

mine is not near as ornate as yours but it hangs in my kitchen on a mirror with a charm necklace with a baby spoon on it

It is so nice to have family treasures

Curtains in My Tree said...

I have always loved the old chatelaines and when I didn't want one they were at all the quilt shows in Kentucky.
I made myself one and showed it on my blog when I first started my blog. I went back to see it and a lot of my pictures are gone? I tell you what i don't understand this blogger site (any help)

mine is not near as ornate as yours but it hangs in my kitchen on a mirror with a charm necklace with a baby spoon on it

It is so nice to have family treasures

LV said...

What awesome treasures you have. I enjoyed seeing them all and learning some of the history.

Sue said...

I learned so much from your post! All of these pieces are lovely and just another example of vintage, utilitarian pieces being beautiful treasures today. Thanks for all of the great photos and info. ~ Sue

Palomasea said...

Chere Paula,

So kind of you to stop by! That yummy post has brought out some great comments :) So fun!

You blog is so beautiful..
Thank you for your compliment regarding creativity, and I return the compliment!!

Merci, and a splendid day to you,

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Ladies, I have always loved sterling vanity items and chatelaines. You have a fabulous collection. Thanks for sharing this at the Open House Party.

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

I enjoyed reading this informative post. I had heard of chatelaines, but I don't think I've actually seen one. I love how you give the history behind your wonderful objects.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patti! Oh, these beautiful items are amazing! I don't know if I have ever heard of them before. You're so informative. I enjoyed seeing the sweet photos too!
Thanks so much for popping in to see my little Carter!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Burlap Luxe said...

Hi Patti this post was really off the chain :)

I love the post and its wealth of information. My grandmother had one and I as a little girl loved playing with it, I felt so grown up with it on and the coins she would place inside for me to buy a penny candy at the candy shop.

Thank you for your beautiful comment while you visited, I am honored that you would take the time to take such notice of my art and the passion put into it making it a piece with a Nordic calm to it.

Have a inspiring calm weekend

Unknown said...

WOW! I love this post! What a history lesson, plus all the beautiful old "things". Who knew? You are absolutely right, what more could a lady ask for. You girls ROCK!! Loved it... Have a great evening.

Kelly said...

What a very interesting post! I feel like I've learned something I didn't know before. It was nice to hear about the history and then actually see the objects you're referring to. Just think how every single thing had to be kept small and attractive in those days. Now, we can just throw it in our purse and no one will even see it!

Erin of Salvaged Whimsy said...

So interesting...I've seen elements of the chatelaine (dance card, compact, pill box, etc), but I've never heard that word before or knew that they hung the items from a chain. We need one of these for our cell phones and credit cards so we don't need a purse! Great pictures and love learning something new. Thanks for stopping by my blog (sewing machine drawers). Take care and have a great weekend.

Unknown said...

That is such an amazingly informative post...thank you! I took a class on the Vikings a year or so ago and remember reading about the Viking women having a similar "belt" around their waist that was both practical and symbolic. They would hang a key or scissors or whatever from it and not only did it serve to keep her "stuff" handy, but it also symbolized that she was the keeper of the home. Love it!

I would like to invite you to my weekend linkup. It involves anything related to homemaking: recipes, sewing, decorating, crafts, DIY, a story about what you did today, etc! There’s a button at the top of my sidebar you can grab to help you to remember to come back each week. This week’s link up will be posted shortly after midnight tonight PST!

Hope you have a lovely weekend!


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Patti & Paula!

Thank you so much for stopping by to visit with me. I have thoroughly enjoyed your post on Chatelaines... I've recently become intrigued by them and loved your grandmother's beautiful pieces.
I'm thrilled to have found you too and will be back regularly. You are beautiful ladies!

Hugs & blessings, Sherry

My Dolce Vita said...

Hi there...what an interesting post, I have learnt so much...Dzintra xo

Acquired Objects said...

Hi Patti & Paula....

What a wonderful post and one that talks to me since I collect chatelaines but mainly for the sewing tools. I had to laugh at your comment about the ladies actually carrying "snuff", ok Lovely post and thank you for stopping by my blog.

Enjoy your weekend!

LBP said...

I think this item needs to be resurrected! I actually have a little thimble and a very cleverly diguised cocktail stirrer that belong on a chatelaine. Beautiful post.



Pamela said...

Soo pretty! I always love learning the history behind your items ladies!! Thanx for coming to the party!

Babs said...

Y'all find some of the best treasures. The tiny compacts must have held just enough powder to "powder one's nose". :) and vinaigrette's are always so interesting.I have a fondness for tussie mussie holders, too.
Wonderfully informative post.

Tina said...

I just love reading your post, and the pictures are always so pretty!

Could you imagine if we used those today? Considering how much many of us carry in our purses!

Dee ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ said...

Your post is fabulous! I'd love to be sporting one of the chatelaines right now. :-)


Revi said...

Hi Patti and Paula,
You guys have the absolute BEST collections! I only recently found out about Chatelaines, though I have had a sterling mechanical pencil for decades! It has a loop for attaching it to the chain. Thanks for sharing and teaching us a few things!

Debbie said...

What a neat and informative post.
You have such beautiful pieces!
Enjoy the weekend.

Coloradolady said...

Your family has some of the most fantastic treasures. Your post are amazing, almost like being transported back in time...I love that!!! Have a fantastic weekend.

Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement said...

What a great post! I love all of the information and LOVE those pieces.

Have a great day.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Thanks for stopping by to visit me!
As you can imagine, I love your silver pieces and so many are family pieces, how marvelous!

Paula Jo @ Home and Garden Decor said...

What beautiful items, and to have something like that from someone so special from your life. It is nice that you give a little history into each item. I love your blog, and for sure I've learned so much. Makes me wonder also about how they put on their powder back then with such little powder puffs.

Rebecca said...

I love your post, history and beautiful pics, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful as well as very interesting post.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Patti,

First of all, I find you to be an exquisite writer; your comment on my post was beautifully written. How important it is to know both dimensions; the dimension of the larger, unseen picture, but also the reality of how our small but IMPORTANT part in the whole matter really DOES MATTER. AND NOW FOR THIS GLORIOUS POST!!!!!!!!!!!! I Love to visit places like this where keen attention to the history of such a beautiful object are presented with such spectacular photos and prose. My goodness, leave it to the French to come up with such fantastic beauty for every day objects. LA JOIE DE VIVRE, par excellence!

Have a wonderful week my dearest! Anita

Carolyn said...

That was such a lovely informative post! It is lovely to have family treasures especially.


Doni said...

I guess the Victorian era's idea of a fanny pack?? Just kidding wink wink!!! Of course who could resist such beauty!? I love the history you've shared! Such pretty items! Thanks so much for being a part of Pearls and Lace Thursday...this post was a perfect addition!
blessing, Doni

Unknown said...

Hey Patti, thank you for the lovely comment on my blog.
I am your new follower :)))
Love from Belgium,

Georgianna said...

What a fascinating post – so much detail and information – I had no idea. Thank you so much for sharing this!


The Tablescaper said...

Great post. I have one of those pencils that I made into a pin. It's neat to be able to use such a treasure. Great to have your post be a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Jennifer Grenko said...

Patti and Paula, I enjoy your blog so much. I love the history lesson that goes with the beautiful vignettes. I'd love to go antiquing with you two!

The Charm of Home said...

What a wonderful treasure. I have seen these before. Such fun to admire and to imagine how they were used. Thank you for linking it up with Home Sweet Home!

Unknown said...

Hi! Just wanted to thank you so much for linking up with my homemaking weekend link-up! Each week, I feature a couple of posts that I thought were exceptionally awesome...Would you be interested in allowing me to feature this post this coming weekend? If so, would you give me permission to use one of your photos in that post? If so, please let me know and indicate which photo I have permission to post.

Have a lovely week and I hope to see you back this weekend for the link-up!


Michele said...

what an incredible post! so educational and so beautiful. you two are amazing. thank you for this blog. much love, michele


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Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart ~ French Proverb ~ We are so grateful that you stopped by ~ Please visit again soon! ~ Much Love, Patricia and Paula