Chatelaines were pieces of jewellery worn at the waist that were fashionable in the 18th century. They were made up of a fastener concealed behind a decorated plate and chains to which charms or functional items (such as keys, watches or even sewing kits) could be attached. They were mostly worn by women, although there is some evidence that they were also used by men.
This chatelaine held at the Musée Cognacq-Jay demonstrates the elegance of accessories and jewellery worn in the 18th century. The many different colours used to decorate it were achieved by combining several techniques borrowed from goldsmithing and miniatures. These include coating yellow gold with translucent enamel; using several different kinds of gold and silver; en plein enamelling on copper to form miniature decorations; and miniatures painted on ivory. Its mechanism is signed by André Hessen, a Parisian watchmaker and author of a work on automatic watch mechanisms.