The Treasured Locket

Lockets have been around for centuries, a vessel to hold a precious keepsake or memento. The Victorian Era, however, more than any period brought lockets into vogue and lockets from this time frame are some of my most favored. I believe lockets to be the ultimate gift of love and romance!

My fascination for the Victorian Era commenced with my first prized locket of that epoch. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria shared an ardent love for one another. They had nine children in their 21 years of marriage and with each birth, Victoria was presented with a tiny locket filled with a snippet of the infant’s hair and inscribed with the birthdate. This thoughtful and lovely tradition would be a beautiful way to celebrate the birth of a baby today.

Some of the most ornate and fabulous lockets date to the Victorian Era. In a variety of shapes, there are oval puffy lockets that contain glass inserts holding delightful antique photographs. There is also the secret compartment locket that held a photograph or token sequestered within a hidden door in the back. In Victorian times, mourning lockets, also known as funeral lockets became prevalent, given when a loved one passed away as a token of remembrance. Some lockets contain braided hair, which was an art form during the Victorian era. Another popular Victorian locket style was the perfume pendant or vinaigrette. These charming containers were used to hold a scent on a cloth encased within. The bathing rituals of this era certainly were not what it is today, so these pendants were highly useful to ward off odors. Another exquisite form of locket are those adorned with cameos. The cameo was quite fashionable and desirable in Victorian times.

The locket was also used as an ornamental fob charm on a watch chain, specifically the Prince Albert Chain, aptly name after the Prince. Queen Victoria was believed to have presented gifts to her cherished Albert as abundantly as he gave tokens of affection to her.

Since the Victorian Era spanned so many decades the designs were varied. Popular were lockets decorated in Etruscan revival style, taille d’epargne enameling, those set with agates, adorned with attractive monogramming, or buckle motif, set with pearls, turquoise, diamonds or paste. In addition, the appealing aesthetic movement was a popular theme with delightful Japanese nature motifs and birds; many of this style of locket were in sterling silver.

There was much symbolism contained within lockets of the Victorian era. For example pearls were symbolic of tears; the buckle for strength and protection, also the garter symbol which exhibited loyalty and brotherhood; the fleur-de-lis, a stylized flower, is the symbol of light and hope, also meaning trinity; ivy for everlasting life; the wreath a symbol of victory.

I have been blessed to have a diverse selection of Victorian lockets over the years. Always a thrill to discover, each locket is unique and special. A perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or a birthday! Lockets, they are ever timeless and classic!

Karen Soldwisch

Synergy Jewelry and Collectibles on Ruby Lane

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