Chains and necklaces

French regional jewellery - antique necklaces and chains

 

 


collier esclavage or slave collar

 

 

The necklace has been part of the prehistoric ornaments appreciated by man. Its appearance is old, long before the advent of writing. At this time, the wearing of the necklace was a protection against evil spirits or the symbol of a victorious event such as hunting a dreaded animal or opponent. Each component wa a symbol.

 

The first necklaces were made with natural materials such as stems, plant roots or animal tendons tied together and decorated. Teeth, bird feathers, shells, corals, pieces of wood, seeds have also been used.

 

The discovery of weaving techniques and metal working revived the manufacture of jewelry. The necklace was no exception to the rule.  Jewellers increasingly diversified their models by the use of strings and ropes that made the collars more resistant and more complex. In the Bronze Age, Man knew how to melt metal and create alloys. He could design necklaces of bronze, copper, gold or silver ...

Today chains cost very little; we tend to forget that until the start of the 19th century they were made by hand and were expensive.  Even gold and silver metal was more expensive in the past, and many people had not a single item of gold jewellery.  Most women wore their crosses on a wevet ribbon, and there was an expression « monter en jazeron » when a woman was seen to have exchanged her ribbon for an expensive jaseron chain.

Many gold chains were made in very small workshops in people’s homes and the trader would come by regularly to drop off a supply of gold wire and pick up the lengths of finished gold chain.  He would pay no money whatsover for the work done; for 500 grams of gold chain he would give 500 grams of wire.  One might rightly ask how then did the workshop make any money ?  The answer lay in the solder.  The gold wire was wound around a steel rod and then sawed along its length to make countless tiny gold loops ; the gold dust was scrupulously collected. The loops were then assembled into chains, sometimes by the children of the household, and then each loop was soldered shut. The solder used, in order to melt at a lower temperature than the gold loop, was of a lower carat and worth a bit less and thus because the finished gold chain was of a slightly lower overall purity, a small profit could be gleaned by the chainmaker.

When the price of watches fell towards the middle of the nineteenth century, the commen man and woman could finally aspire to owning one of these coveted items.  Many women converted their necklaces and the chains they had been using to wear a cross into watch chains.

 

 

 

 

long neck chain (sautoir), sometimes called muff chain or guard chain

 

 


watch chain

watch chain

 


Roman gold and emerald necklace

 

 


Roman gold necklace

 

 

 

 

 


 "Collier esclavage" (slave necklace) in gold and enamel with its matching ear pendants

 

 


 

French regional jewelry - esclavage necklace, c1880 gold and Bresse enamel

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls


draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 

 


detail of 'esclavage' (slave) necklace,
"je vous M" (I love you)

'esclavage' (slave) necklace,
Normandy, gold and Bresse enamel
s


detail of 'esclavage' (slave) necklace,

"pensée à moi" (think of me)
 

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 


  "slave" collar (collier esclavage) in gold, strass and Bresse enamels

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

  draperie necklace, gold

 

 


pearl necklace,
gold & diamond clasp

  draperie necklace, gold

 

  draperie necklace, gold

 

 

 

 
  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

necklace, c1930, gold

 

 


"esclavage" (slave) necklace from region of Macon, French folk costume

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 

 


gold "slave" collar (collier esclavage) 1809 - 1819

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

long neck chain

 

 


draperie necklace with egyptian motif, gold

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold

  draperie necklace, gold

 

 


esclavage (slave) necklace, gold

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold

  esclavage necklace, gold & enamel

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold

  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 


 

  draperie necklace, gold

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 


  draperie necklace, gold

 necklace art-déco, crystal

  draperie necklace, gold and pearls

 

 


 choker Tubogaz, c1950

   choker Tubogaz, c1950

 

 

 


French regional jewelry from Auvergne, Holy Spirit necklace in gold, garnet and enamel

 

 


French regional jewelry - Yvetot necklace, silver gilt and strass

 

 


long silver ladies watch chain

 

 


long silver ladies watch chain

 

 

In the mid nineteenth century women wore small pocket watches on a long chain, today sometimes mistakenly called muff chains.  After wristwatches came into favour, these chains were worn without a watch, and because of their length were sometimes wound several times around the neck.  In order to stop one of the loops sagging and causing the other loop to rub against the throat, a small gold or silver “