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Chatelaine

chat·​e·​laine | ˈsha-tə-ˌlān

noun

A decorative belt hook or clasp, which is pinned at a women's waist and has several chains suspended from it

A chatelaine is a decorative belt hook that is worn around a woman’s waist. From the chatelaine you can find several different items attached and dangling, such as common household items like keys, scissors, thimbles, watches, and decorative household seals. These useful decorative items have been dated back to women from 7th and 8th century United Kingdom. They continued to be worn for several centuries. In the 16th century Dutch Republic, wealthy women often wore chatelaines to carry watches. Around the 1860s, chatelaines often had bags for women to keep personal items dangling from their waists. In the 19th century, chatelaine’s were popular among European housekeepers as they kept all their household tools securely fastened to them. Chatelaines that were used as keychains were also used to signify a woman’s social status. A woman who had several keys dangling from her chatelaine - such as the key to the house, the desk, the pantry, locked cabinets, and more - was often viewed as a woman of importance and “the woman of the household.”

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