A wonderful antique Victorian hair work Albertina pocket watch chain with a drop and a decorative monogrammed fob with English hallmarks. At a full 17 inches long, with a little adaptation, it can be worn doubled as a unique bracelet or even a short necklace.
Fashioned from real hair that is tightly braided around thick cord the chain has gold plated sterling silver (gilt) fittings and end caps that are engraved in a floral pattern. The chain is nice and flexible and it has the requisite T-bar and dog clip ends. It has a 5" drop with a delightfully feminine sterling silver pendant fob decorated in an overlaid rose gold monogram. We think the initials are "RIO"
The chain is in very, very good condition, there are minor stray hairs at the very edges which is normal and to be expected, they can be trimmed off with nail scissors. There are no signs any major problems like breakages or worrying unravelling. Surprisingly robust despite being made from hair these watch chains have stood the the long test of time and are a lot more resilient than you might think!
A delightful example of labour intensive hair work jewellery and very collectable! Once an integral part of the Victorian wardrobe Albert watch chains were used by both men and women (the ladies versions were known as Albertina's) to attach a pocket watch to the vest or jacket. Hair chains might have been memorial or mourning pieces or they may have simply been worn as love tokens. To the Victorians sentimental hair jewelry represented love. loss, intimacy and friendship.
MATERIALS: hair, 9ct gold, sterling silver
DATE: Victorian, circa 1880
MEASUREMENTS: Chain measures 17" (44 cm) end to end and 7mm diameter, fob measures 23x23mm
WEIGHT: 18.3 grams
HALLMARKS: fob anchor for Birmingham, lion passant for sterling silver, date letter 'g' and makers mark 'J.M' dog clip 'NCH Co.'
CONDITION: Very, very good with expected wear, the gold plating on the silver fittings has faded to a lovely pale golden shade, the clip is in perfect working order. Please refer to the photos as they form a good part of the description.