What does it look like?
Well, it sounds like what you've been given is a Chatelaine. It's meant to hook onto the waistband of your dress. Oh, I totally hear you - you've got enough around your waist what with the corset, crinoline and massive dress. But the fact is, the lady of the house obviously wants you to become more responsible and do more around the house. So go fix something or mend something.
Now don't be like that.
Really, Abby, it makes much more sense to keep busy while you're stuck in 1867, rather than simply laze around.
The word "chatelaine" was first used in 1828 in a London magazine to describe the new accessory. These chatelaines signified an upper crust status of the lady of the home.
Many jewellers such as Tiffany's created sought-after chatelaines, some embedded with jewels such as diamonds. Some carried attached fans for summer weather, others carried tiny purses, penknives or eyeglass containers. Simpler, more affordable chatelaines were made from simple metals.
You will see that the specific needs of a lady in the 19th century are reflected in her chatelaine. Nurses, for instance, need to carry equipment such as safety pins and thermometers.
Most chatelaines consist of some kind of a medallion at the top, with a metal piece that hooks over the waistband of dresses.
As you must have noticed by now, fashion in the 19th century adheres to the carrying of only tiny purses, creating the need for an alternate way to tote around required items.
And now you know.