Following fashion throughout several centuries, a châtelaine was a beloved lady’s accessory especially popular between the 17th to early 19th century.


From the French word “Lady of the castle”, a châtelaine was a belt hook, worn by the lady of the chateau, from which hung the keys to all the doors.



Since women’s clothing of the time did not include pockets, over time, a chatelaine became a innovative accessory from which hung small but necessary objects such as keys, a vinaigrette, scissors, pomanders and a little notebook with a retractible pencil.

Chatelaines were a useful piece of jewelry, which is considered by many to be the predecessor of a lady’s handbag.




It is the minuscule pencils that always fascinate me.

Every designer, artist, writer, blogger, teacher, dreamer needs one of these!



Like magic wands, there is so much history in one simple, little piece of jewelry. 


Wear the history and charm of the late 19th century, and that of the early 1900’s. Each one is a one-of-a-kind reminder of genteel, romantic times of long ago.

Aren’t they glorious?



While I’m away at market sourcing decorative treats to make all of us happy for Spring and Easter, I’m thrilled to share these beauties with all of you!  Each one has a storied past…fine quality {sterling silver, gold and gold fill} and plenty of personality.


Take this gold fill pencil, below, set with the turquoise stones. Can you just imagine what kind of secret tiny missives a lady penned with this little pencil? A hastily torn off note, passed on the main street in town, perhaps.

Meet me in the park tomorrow. {For those young ladies whose parents strictly forbade outings with dapper young men, and watched the “real” mail like a hawk.}




They truly are magical, aren’t they?

So so tiny, most are under two inches.

It’s a wonder that anyone could write with them, now they make such an interesting necklace, in a good way.  {I have a friend who always utters “interesting” when she doesn’t really like something that another friend asks if she likes! This is NOT that kind of interesting, if you know what I mean. Bless her heart. }





Together with the antique seals and watch fob jewelry, they are the perfect gift for a birthday, a graduation, or Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?

There are still more antique necklaces and bracelets coming to FrenchGardenHouse in the next few weeks. For all of you jewelry lovers.

I hope you are having a glorious week so far!

à bientôt,


  1. Just lovely! I adore Marie Antoinette boxes… Thanks for the wonderful post! Happy Tuesday to you. Leticia

    1. Thanks so much Leticia, I love these antique French boxes too, these have the hand painted Limoges portraits on them. So beautiful!

    1. Thank you Shannon, that one is my personal favorite too! It’s the first one I was drawn to and selected for this collection. I hope you are having a beautiful week.

  2. Colleen

    Aren’t they lovely and so feminine? For some reason, as soon as I saw them, a memory jumped onto my head. I actually recall seeing one of these around our house as a little girl. I have no idea where it would’ve came from or what ever became of it. I was fascinated by it too. Unfortunately, my parents and grandparent are long gone and I have nobody to ask anymore. Thankyou for posting this!

    1. Colleen, what a sweet memory! They are such delicate, beautiful and feminine accessories of the past, I agree.

  3. Hi Lidy, I adore jewelry especially jewelry with a history. I have seen these in movies and thought how useful they would be. I’m so glad that you shared them they are so very beautiful. Have a beautiful week!
    xoxo Jo

  4. Ginger Valdes

    I love these, Lidy! They’re truly unique, gorgeous, AND interesting, in a very good way! Would so enjoy being able to have one ?. Thanks for sharing them and their history.

  5. Norma Rolader

    Oh so in aww of these beautiful pieces of jewelry Thank you so much for sharing

  6. Mary Emanuelson

    The little pencils are lovely. But I am sooo glad we ladies have pockets these days!

  7. Shirley, thank you, these are so special because they are the smallest of their kind, so they are perfect on a chain. I think they are magical, too.

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