12/05/2023 Jewellery & Gems
Antique gold items such as Albert neck chains, muff chains, charm, curb and gate bracelets which were out of favour in recent years seem to be making a comeback. These items have been extremely sought after in our most recent sales. Antique gold often has a lovely soft patina to it and sometimes each link is stamped individually with the gold content.
Albert chains which are usually a graduated curb link were originally used as watch chains and are named after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert who used to wear one. The T – bar was affixed to a buttonhole on the waistcoat and the clip was affixed to a pocket watch which sat in the watch pocket. Double Alberts had chain either side of the T – bar and one chain was affixed the watch and the other to a seal, these are now worn as necklaces.
Muff chains are longer and often lighter than and an albert and are usually in a belcher link, these were used by Ladies to carry a muff or hand warmer, this practise goes back to the 18th Century but most muff chains we see are from the Victorian era.
Gate bracelets became popular in the Victorian era and the woven interlocking design was meant to symbolise the gates of a county house. The Padlock clasp on a gate or a curb link bracelet symbolised love and fidelity. When a man went away for a prolonged period he would actually lock the padlock with a key and open it on his return! later these locks were replaced by padlock charms which were more practical
Charms have been used for centuries but were revived by Queen Victorian who wore a charm bracelet, as a popular Queen her fashion was always followed and you will find many charm bracelets from this period. The charms were often of things associated with the family such as lock of hair, lockets, family crests etc.