When you think of a keychain, what comes to mind is a ring made of steel, a connecting chain and something at the other end of it. But there was a time when a keychain had, among other things, a knife, an implement to clean your ears, tiny bells, a blouse hook, a whistle and keys — all made of gold.

As part of Madras Day celebrations, Nathella Sampath Chetty Jewellers in Anna Nagar has organized an exhibition of finely-crafted items that were in vogue until a few decades ago.

The gold and silver artefacts include items meant for personal use, and give one a glimpse into a bygone era when the precious metals were still affordable.

Among the items made of gold are kondai (hair bun) nets, a puli naga haaram (a necklace made with tiger nails), a jewellery box (Thirumani petti) and baby rattles. a gold comb holder and even a golden balapam (slate pencil) holder so that the one’s fingers don’t get all powdery.

In the silver section, most of the items were those designed for use by children including a bus, wooden elephants, with silver ornaments, fruits and animals. Playing cards and matchboxes too had silver covers. Photographs of trophies for films including Paava Mannippu and Nadodi Mannanare also on display. The exhibition is on till Monday.

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