Chain – Long Chain (“Guard” or “Muff”)
An antique rose gold-coloured Victorian long chain¹ styled as a round faceted belcher and employing a swivel clasp. Circa 1890-1900.
Measuring: 980.00mm x 3.20mm x 3.20mm.
Unhallmarked: tested and valued as base-metal.
¹. When it was invented just after the French Revolution it was worn ‘en sautoir’ or bandolier fashion across the shoulders, but women soon devised other ways of wearing this simple ornament. Portraits of the 1830s and 1840s often show a lady wearing a very long chain in a variety of ways. It could be worn doubled or travelled around the neck, tucked into the girdle or belt, sometimes pinned at the bottom so as to hang in wide festoons, although they were worn just for their own sake to emphasise the grace of their movements and to highlight their most attractive features. It is this versatility which has called the long chain back into fashion more than once since that time, usually becoming slenderer over time than those of the 1840s, however, the designs remained just as varied. Other uses included being employed to carry the vinaigrette, the muff, and finally, with the tight pocketless skirts of the early 1900s they were particularly useful for holding a small purse, a watch or lorgnette.
Men sometimes wore a similar type of chain, and a drawing of the Daniel Maclise shows the young Disraeli wearing one around his neck, with a watch supported tucked in his waistcoat pocket.