Skip to content
Early Victorian Gilt Silver Vinaigrette


In any major European city in 1840 (when this locket was made), it STUNK. It stunk so bad that people thought bad smells could kill you. It was obvious; in poor districts, the air was foul and the death rate high. In the prosperous suburbs, no smells – therefore no disease. There was a terrible, recurrent Cholera epidemic in London at the time, and it took Dr John Snow (unrelated to the GOT character) years to persuade the establishment that cholera is a water-borne disease: nothing to do with bad smells. ​Parliament was worried by the ‘Great Stink’ of 1858, when the Thames flowed with undiluted sewage, because the smell itself might kill the Members of Parliament in their debating chamber overlooking the river. Anyway, one small thing you could do to protect your delicate nose from the stank? Carry a vinaigrette like this. You'd fill it with vinegar or herbs or flowers or perfume and sniff that instead of the nasty air. It kind of worked. 


  • Materials

    gilt silver, new 14k gold chain

  • Age

    c. 1840

  • Condition

    Very good

  • Size

    1 5/8" length including the bale, 7/8" width, 18" chain