Newly listed! (See profile for shop link) 🌕 A smart and handsome Art Nouveau chatelaine fob ornament, designed as a series of interlinked coin-like medallions decorated in the center with 3-D elf busts in raised high relief. The largest medallion is further accented with two small old mine cut diamonds. The reverse is inscribed for Etta Wiess and the date October 3rd, 1902. The unusual spelling of Etta's last name ('Wiess' instead of the more common 'Weiss") helps us pinpoint an Etta born in 1873. She would have been 29 in 1902. According to census records, she resided in Texas, was married to Eugene Cushman Wiess, and passed away young in 1907 at the age 33.
The matte, peachy gold surface has been 'bloomed', a coloring technique used by jewelers during the turn of the century to burn away alloys on karat gold's surface by dipping the material in a special acid mix (muriatic acid, potassium nitrate, salt and water). The resulting surface appears high-karat and matte.
This pendant would have once served as a fob ornament hanging from the waist as part of a chatelaine set. Originally designed as a practical 'women's utility belt' type device, the chatelaine functioned as an important part of the wardrobe at a time when women's pant pockets and shoulder bags did not exist. A central clipping device would be attached to the dress belt, and various little tools and keys could then be attached to this central ornament. Over time however the chatelaine evolved into a fashion and status statement in its own right, and ornaments and fobs would be worn for decorative value.
This particular fob comes with a functional dog-clip, allowing for the easy attachment and removal from chains. It can be worn high on the neck as a dramatic pendant, or over the shirt or fall sweater on a long chain.
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