Yay ebay! I found this little nugget on there last year and lucked out. It is in fantastic condition. It is probably 18th century, and made of ormolu, or similar. She's in fantastic condition, with only a little rust to one of the clasps. Each section has a nice little scene. They appear to be Oriental in design.
Equipages, or chatelaines (their 19th century term, that means "lady of the house"), are handy items that one uses to hang one's necessities from. They can be functional or ornate. One might hang a watch, keys, a wax seal, sewing tools… In the late 18th century, it became popular to wear two at the waist. In the later 19th century, they moved into the ball room and might have held a lady's fan or dance card. That's why a lot of Victorian fans have a loop at the base, to hang by. But back to the 1700's...
I didn't have too much to hang from mine, so I pawed around my closet and found a lovely little antique seal my mom had given me. I also found a Forever 21 necklace with a monocle on the end and thought, why not! I'll have to keep an eye out for more bits to hang from it. A watch would be awesome!
The equipage hangs over your skirt, secured by a long paddle you slip under the waistband.
The clasps are fascinating. I don't know if they are replacements, or how old they are, because they don't all match. They are nifty, though, with thier little locking screw mechanism.
You unscrew the little nut...
…and then you can open the clasp. You screw it back down and off you go!
Below is the sad little rusty one. I probably won't be hanging anything from that one :(
It will be fun to hunt for little items to attach to it. It's such a lovely piece! I'm proud to be it's new custodian.