They were worn for show at church on Sundays, rather than for everyday wear. Women wore them over their outer clothes, and sometimes used pins to keep the separate tiers lying smoothly in place. They wore their hair piled high on top of their head, wrapped in cloth and ribbons, so that the decorative clasp could be seen clearly at the nape of the neck.
Many of these necklaces were betrothal or wedding gifts, and often carry the initials of the bridal pair or the name of the bride, together with the date, on the back of the clasp. These inscriptions are almost always scratched or stippled by the bride or groom themselves, not professionally engraved. They are often so worn, as here, that they are now difficult to read. This necklace has ‘F Magt H Rieg 1845’ stippled faintly on the back of the clasp.