Necklace thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Necklace

1840-1870 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The most characteristic item in Austrian and South German traditional jewellery is the Kropfkette (goitre chain), a choker of multiple rows of chain with an imposing clasp at the front. It was originally worn to hide the ugly swelling caused by goitre, a disease of iodine deficiency endemic in the high Alps. Many women in Austria and Bavaria still wear these distinctive necklaces on special occasions.

The use of filigree is typical of traditional jewellery from the region. Filigree was made in many centres, and also imported from Schwäbisch Gmünd. Many of the pieces were put together by home workers, including women and children. This kept costs down, and allowed the manufacturers to sell their goods at a low price.

South German filigree is often decorated with garnets, as here.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver chains, with silver filigree and garnets, and an imitation pearl
Brief Description
Choker of silver chains (Kropfkette) with an elaborate filigree and garnet clasp, Austria, 1840-1870.
Physical Description
Choker of eight graduated rows of box chain, with a large rectangular snap clasp at the front, with incurved edges, decorated with filigree scrolls and set with garnets and imitation pearls.
Dimensions
  • Height: 4.7cm
  • Width: 12.0cm
  • Depth: 7.7cm
Credit line
Given by Jane Souter Hipkins
Summary
The most characteristic item in Austrian and South German traditional jewellery is the Kropfkette (goitre chain), a choker of multiple rows of chain with an imposing clasp at the front. It was originally worn to hide the ugly swelling caused by goitre, a disease of iodine deficiency endemic in the high Alps. Many women in Austria and Bavaria still wear these distinctive necklaces on special occasions.



The use of filigree is typical of traditional jewellery from the region. Filigree was made in many centres, and also imported from Schwäbisch Gmünd. Many of the pieces were put together by home workers, including women and children. This kept costs down, and allowed the manufacturers to sell their goods at a low price.



South German filigree is often decorated with garnets, as here.
Collection
Accession Number
M.430-1911

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record createdOctober 5, 2007
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