Recent Acquisition: German Iron Watch Chain
In order to help fund the German war effort in World War One, there was a call for patriotic citizens to donate their gold jewellery, which was replaced with iron. This was something of a tradition in German history, with Prussia making a similar call in their fight against Napoleon in 1813.
Being seen with iron jewellery became a public symbol of patriotism, whilst wearing gold became socially embarrassing. Bracelets, wedding rings and even civic regalia were handed in.
The watch chain shown in the picture on the right is a typical example, and is dated 1916. The inscription "GOLD ZUR WEHR, EISEN ZUR EHR" translates as "gold for the military, iron for honour". The other inscription "IN EISERNER ZEIT" means "in iron times".