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Galvanic necklace, Paris, France, 1880-1920

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The metal chain of this necklace is made from links of brass, zinc and copper. The charms, which are in the shape of an oval and a cross, are made from brass, copper and steel. The inscription translates from French as “Health, Force Strength…oval electromagnetic”. It also has the maker’s name, “N Bertrand”, and his place of work, “Paris”. The necklace worked as an electrotherapy treatment, in a similar way to using copper bracelets to relieve the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

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    Glossary: necklace

    Ornaments worn around the neck, usually in the form of chains or strands of beads, pearls, stones, or the like, and often including a suspended ornamental pendant. Use "chokers" for short, narrow necklaces worn close to the throat. Use "dog collars (necklaces)" for wide ornamental bands worn tightly around the neck.

    Glossary: electrotherapy

    The passing of electric currents through the body's tissues to stimulate the functioning of nerves and the muscles.

    Glossary: galvanism

    Any form of medical treatment that uses electricity.

    Glossary: Mesmerism

    Based on the theories of Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Claimed he could heal people based on his theory of animal magnetism. This fluid flowed through living things but when it became blocked, it caused disease. Treatment was holding magnets over specific parts of the body. His ideas were unfounded.