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from the archive
Georgian Pear-Shaped Vinaigrette Patch Case

This unassuming pear-shaped pendant is so much more than meets the eye. Fashioned in steel in the early 19th century, this piece does double duty as both a vinaigrette and a patch case. The perforated base unscrews and is meant to house a piece of cloth or cotton wool soaked in perfume or vinegar (to combat the unpleasant odors of everyday life in the year 1800). The top also unscrews to reveal a compartment designed to hold faux beauty marks known as patches, plasters or mouches (French for "flies"). These artificial beauty marks were fashioned in the shape of circles, stars, even crescent moons, using black silk taffeta or velvet backed in an adhesive resin. Patches were a clever way to conceal pock marks and scars by turning these blemishes into a bold fashion do.