Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Austria (made)

  • Date:

    1840-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver chains, with silver filigree and garnets, and an imitation pearl

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jane Souter Hipkins

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 72, shelf B, box 1

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.

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.

Place of Origin

Austria (made)


1840-1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silver chains, with silver filigree and garnets, and an imitation pearl


Height: 4.7 cm, Width: 12.0 cm, Depth: 7.7 cm

Descriptive line

Choker of silver chains (Kropfkette) with an elaborate filigree and garnet clasp, Austria, 1840-1870.


Silver; Garnet; Imitation pearl




Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.