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from the archive
Victorian Vinaigrette with Beveled Glass

Personal cleanliness standards in the 19th century were not quite what they are today. Prior to the debunking of the myth that bathing was dangerous for the health, the widespread availability of soap and proper sewage treatment, people needed a way to guard against the unpleasant (often vile) odors encountered in living everyday life. Enter the vinaigrette! These tiny lockets with an open grille were designed to house a cloth or piece of cotton wool soaked in perfume that could be held to the nose in moments of olfactory assault. Sometimes the cloth would be doused in vinegar (which gives this utilitarian jewel its moniker) for its perceived medicinal qualities. This unusually simple Victorian vinaigrette is made in sterling silver with a gilt interior and beveled glass front.