Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chatelaine Pins (1930's-1940's)

Good morning!

Whatcha know, kids? It's Wednesday, middle of the morning, I'm already ready to go home already! Lots of things to catch up on in the workplace today, but what would a midweek workaday be like without a little vintage sunshine to soak up? More jewelry to tell you about today. Yesterday, I was looking up...I can't remember, but something completely unrelated to today's post (vintage gold charms? Lockets? Something?) and came across a listing for this "sweetheart chatelaine". As I end up doing a lot of times (you know you do, too!), I fell down the rabbit hole of looking up jewelry with the keyword "chatelaine".

Wanna take a look with me?
Now, technically, none of these are really chatelaine pins in the original sense of the term, which, according to this antique jewelry glossary, referred to:
An ornamental clasp worn in daytime at a woman's waist, attached to a belt or girdle, with a hook-plate from which are suspended several (usually five, but up to nine) short chains terminating with rings or swivel catches to which are attached various small objects for daily household use.
"Chatelaine" means, literally, the mistress of a chateau (nice work if you can get it!) and the position of being both responsible and fashionable seems to have given birth to the idea of a piece of jewelry with practical pieces attached to it by chains and loops (keys, tiny tools, etc). The real deal, 18th and 19th century pieces would be more utilitarian than decorative, though could be both. You can see versions of this accessory on Mrs. Hughes in Downton Abbey and in the 20th century, on Joan Holloway on Mad Men with her famous gold pen :

However, it looks like the term has also been appropriated to describe forties' brooches that are connected in two pieces by a chain. Some of these look similar to sweater guards, some might actually BE sweater guards), but as it is, hold secure in your heart the knowledge that you can find all manner of adorable, KILLER costume jewelry on Ebay by using the search term "chatelaine pin". I was dying over some of these. 

Another sweetheart piece, this one linking forever the hearts of "Lucille" and "Jim":
But the ones that REALLY caught my eye were the crazy novelty ones. Collectibles being what they are, i.e. collectible, these range in price from like $10 to up into the upper three digits. I like to think of celebrity vintage enthusiasts like Dita von Teese and Courtney Love surfing the world wide web and snapping up some of the more expensive and truly stellar among these pieces. Won't someone open up a charge account for me like those kept women in the thirties' movies (Clark Gable in Possessed, I'm looking at you)? I NEED. THESE BROOCHES. IN MY LIFE.

Coro did their fair share of crazy chatelaine pins, look at this canary warily eyeing that perfect black cat:
And this is so surreal I can't even get over it. "Who's there?" Each time I see some clever elegant-but-decidedly-weird piece like this my little heart flutters:
Vintage Coro Pegasus Chatelaine Pin/Brooch Hand And Door Knocker Signed

For the music teacher in your life, and even already inscribed with the name "Babe" (how cute!) :
Vintage Sterling Chatelaine Brooch Treble Clef Music Note Rhinestones

I'm not sure why this lady bowler is so muscular, but I do like the midcentury-ness of someone being enough into bowling as to buy a pin to commemorate their hobby:
Large Chatelaine Bowling Brooch Vintage
I love thinking about this bird set pinned to a bright, tropical floral dress like some of the ones Trashy Diva does (I have yet to commit to one, they're so cute, but this kimono inspired forties' dress may put me over the edge). Wouldn't it be just the thing to add to a flashy dress to go out dancing at the Trocadero, secretly hoping Gene Kelly or Cary Grant would cast a glance my way?
Vtg Chatelaine Brooch Pin Birds Figural Gold Tone 40's 1940's
THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE ONE. We were talking the other day about interior decorator/silent movie star Billy Haines, this reminds me of an iconic horse-head lamp that he made for someone or other's living room. What I love about the lamp is sure, it looks like a particular elegant example of but not that crazy of a lamp you would get anywhere nowadays-- in the late forties' though, what a CRAZY and NEAT thing this would have been! He was famous for taking sculptural pieces and turning them into one of a kind lamps, which makes me cast a scavenger's eye over my own weird knickknacks that might be just waiting to be wired for electric light...ugh! The pin though! It is just perfect.

1940S Retro Horse Red Rhinestone Chatelaine Pin Set

Terrifying, occult, Rosemary's Baby lookin' king and queen here from Trifari, but I can't lie, I still think these are great. I feel like novelty jewelry, for the most part, is so ham-fisted/lame has to be not only a figural tiger necklace, but a neon and black and white poka dot figural tiger necklace, because the tiger alone was not enough of a statement. What's great about these kooky vintage pieces is how they manage to look grown up and crazy at the same time.
These cherubs are asking you the same question Huey Lewis would like to know...."Do you beLIEVE in LOOOOVE?":

1940s Vintage Cherub Figuarl Chatelaine Cupid BOOK PIECE Brooch Pin Jewelry
And last but not least, ARE YOU KIDDING ME. If this wasn't almost $800, I would have this. I am now trying to decide how it would be possible to DIY something like this out of plastic toy cowboys and Indians. This was made as a tie in to Cecil B. DeMille's 1940 movie Northwest Mounted Police, starring Gary Cooper. I die. I actually die.

Cecil B DeMille NW Mounted Police Chief Big Bear, Texas Ranger Chatelaine Pins
Anyway, I gotta shake a tail feather, but let's talk! I bought a pin like one of these auctions for considerably less than it listed for here, which do you think it was (it's not the cowboy one, I wouldn't even hide that from you)? Which pin is your favorite? Have you ever seen any like this out in the wild? What weird search terms have you come across lately that taught you a lesson about vintage terminology? What exactly do I have to do to get a chateau around here? You got thoughts, I wanna hear 'em! :)

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow for more vintage tips and quips. Have a great Wednesday! Til then.


  1. I am so drawn to the hand reaching for the door knocker!

    1. Isn't it eerie? But elegant? But then eerie again?!

  2. These are awesome. I have to confess that I'm more drawn to the slightly more subtle, less garish but still quirky music notes and hand and knocker. The possibilities for these are absolutely endless... How many items you could pair together in more and less random ways.

    1. I know! I've seen a few that weren't listed under "chatelaine" but that term did pull up like, probably ten pages worth of results on Ebay. I was eating my heart out over a lot of these. One of my dream jobs would be 1940's novelty jewelry designer, you're exactly right-- the possibilities!!!

  3. i am not familiar with these at all, but i love them! my favorite is that cat and bird!

    1. Cat's all like, "Heyyyy!"; bird's all like, "Naaawwww, son." So cheeky!

  4. I have always been attracted to these! But I never associated this word with them! I knew that the original items were called chatelaines, but the ones from the 30s-50s I simply called "double brooches". Well, you learn something new everyday!

    And that Lone Ranger one is killing me!!!


    1. I might yet die of pining over that cowboy and Indian brooch, I'm glad I'm not alone in that heartache. :D

      "Double brooches" I am going to use, stat, to see what else I can trawl up! I've heard them called "scatter pins" too, but I think that's more the little tiny, pair of unconnected but identical or very similar pins, sans chain? I still have a lot to learn about terminology with vintage stuff, I sure have fun finding new things to google though, haha.



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