Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Book Chain Beauties

Research for my dissertation required me to look through a lot (I'm talking 1000's) of CDVs and daguerreotypes containing Victorian women. My focus was on their waist/hip area as I was searching for chatelaines, but I couldn't help but be enamoured by what was happening north of the waist. Many women displayed an impressive system of chains, fobs, brooches, pendants and collar necklaces. Bodices acted as a canvas for women to display tokens of sentimentality in arrangements that were as individual as the women who wore them. Naturally, viewing so much Victorian jewellery really gave me a taste for some, an aesthetic I used to enjoy but moved away from years ago in favour of more Edwardian and Art Deco designs. In the limited quality of Victorian photography, book chain (or book link) necklaces stand out, their ornate, weighty presence really appealing to me. Essentially the book chain contains of flat, folded links that interlock in a manner reminiscent of book-binding; the flat links lend themselves well to intricate detailing, as you're about to see.     

Header & above - c.1880 book chain collar, available at ThreeGracesToo on Etsy

Book chain locket necklace with rose and yellow gold detail,
on eBay (auction ended)

c.1880 book chain collar, available on eBay

1880 book chain locket necklace, from Orange Tree Collectables
at Ruby Lane (sold) 

1882 book chain locket necklace, on eBay (auction ended)

Silver book chain locket necklace, on eBay (auction ended)

c.1880 book chain collar necklace, available at A. Brant + Son

I've put together a Pinterest board featuring many more book chain designs and evidence of women wearing them. Swooning over extant examples of book chain is fun, but seeing real Victorian women wearing them is equally fascinating.

London lady - CDV on eBay

Nottingham lady - CDV on eBay

Worcester lady - CDV on eBay

Not quite as illustrious (nor £££) as an original, I recently bought a 1940s Victorian-Revival book chain necklace, with matching bracelet. I've never been into lockets so the lack of a locket pendant doesn't bother me. The short, collar style of the necklace is similar to quite a few of my recent jewellery purchases- I'm very pleased with it! 

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