As an arbiter of taste, Martha Washington wore simple but elegant clothing in keeping with the socio-political ideals of the early Republic. This chain and pearl necklace is typical of the early neoclassic style which incorporated gold and white into architecture, dress, and personal adornment. Martha perhaps wore the double stranded chain with the stylish muslin dress she described in a 1789 letter to her niece, Fanny Bassett: "I have put on white muslin Habits for the summer - you would I fear think me a good deal in the fashion".


Two strand gold chain-and-pearl necklace. The chain is made from hand soldered, extruded gold wire. Over the two seventeen inch strands are seventeen evenly distributed freshwater pearls, eight on one and nine on the other. The cylindrical and horizontally reeded clasp is hollowed to receive the rat tail insert, both are attached to either end of the strands by integral gold loops.


c. 1780-1802



Gold, pearls


Overall: 1/8 in. x 17 5/8 in. (0.33 cm x 44.78 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1932

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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