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Fob seal, citrine mounted in gold, English ca. 1815-20

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Definition: 1) a small ornament - sometimes purely decorative, sometimes utilitarian, like a seal or key - suspended from a chain, often a pocket watch chain; 2) the link or mesh chain, or a ribbon, used to suspend such ornaments. Developed around the 1770s, along with the invention of light, flat, portable timepieces known as pocket watches, fobs were worn by both men and women, attached at the waist or to a belt; their popularity continued throughout the 19th century, but gradually became more associated with male attire

Also known as: fob seal, fob chain, chatelaine (female version of the chain or ribbon)

Example: Victorian gentlemen of fashion often had multiple fobs dangling from a chain - not unlike a lady's charm bracelet.

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