CHATELAINES: Chains that hung from belts to keep essentials close at hand. During the 19th century, fashionable dresses often had no waist and nowhere to hang daily necessities, such as keys, so chatelaines became decorative brooches or were often given as a wedding present from a husband to bride. Later they became fashion accessories.
- The word Chatelaine is French and means the keeper of the key and derives from the Latin word for castle. In Medieval times, the chatelaine was in charge of the day-to-day running of the castle.
What did a chatelaine do?
- Most important task was keeper of the keys.
- Also ordered supplies, did bookkeeping, supervised servants, taught castle children, and organized guests.
What were chatelaines used for?
- Castle keepers needed keys safe, yet easily accessible.
- By 1700’s, a metal jeweled ornament hung from pockets, attached to belts, or by hooks into skirt waistbands
- During 1800’s, women wore large collections of tools hung from chains
- Young girls sewed and did needlework and needed to carry sewing notions eg scissors, thimbles
- Worn by women of all classes, from workers to nobility
- Varied depending on class and finances.
- Made of silver, brass, steel, leather, or fabric