This delicate necklace was originally part of the traditional costume worn in the Nuremberg region of Germany, where it was known as a Hopfenkette (Hop chain). These necklaces usually had two tiers, of alternating filigree links and coloured stones or pastes, at the front, with a pendant linking them in the centre. They also had loops at the ends, for a ribbon to fasten them, rather than a snap clasp. This necklace was probably converted from such a Hopfenkette to make it more attractive to potential western buyers; it was bought in Nuremberg by the donor's father, T. Oldham Barlow RA, as a present for her.
It was illustrated by Sir John Everett Millais in his picture 'The Princes in the Tower', 1878. Traditional jewellery, known at the time as 'peasant jewellery', was very popular among the Pre-Raphaelite painters, who included it in many of their paintings.