A small receptacle to Contain scented vinegar formerly used by ladies to ward off faintness. The usual type was globular or cuff-shaped, made of gold, silver or porcelain, with a metal grille (of gold, silver or pinchbeck) under the stopper or hinged lid to hold a sponge saturated with the scented substance. Often they had an attached chain so as to be suspended from a bracelet, chatelaine or finger ring (such as one worn by Queen Victoria). Some examples have a locket at the bottom, and rare examples are in the form of a small powder horn (sometimes called a 'bugle') with a built-in whistle. Vinaigrettes were made in France, Switzerland, and England.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson