A popular accessory for centuries, lockets have a unique charm and appeal. While all jewellery is personal, the locket is probably the most personal of all. It is a true keeper of secrets and teller of stories. Often worn close to the heart, they provide a glimpse of who the wearer holds dear as though the locket is an extension of the heart itself. It has the ability to hold cherished memories close to the heart drawing both women and men to lockets.
Lockets, due to their ability to tell a woman’s unique, personal story, found a place centuries ago as mourning jewellery and continued evolving to become the height of fashion during Queen Victoria’s reign, she was known to always wear a locket of Prince Albert around her neck, especially after he passed away. The Queen was also gifted a locket charm bracelet, with eight lockets all with individual portraits of her children. Like most jewels of the time, lockets followed the fashions of the royal family, firmly cementing the locket as a must-have item in the 19th century and beyond, a romantic piece to express love for someone dear to them.
Modern Ways to Wear a Locket
In a world of social over-sharing and Insta likes, it seems we are looking for ways to keep somethings private and personal. The lockets simple but intimate design allows you to keep your messages and secrets intimate and close to your heart.
Lockets have become quite popular for weddings, for brides, mothers of brides, and bridesmaids alike, as well as guests. Many brides wear their lockets as necklaces in a subtle tribute to a loved one who is unable to attend the ceremony, as a way to honour the people who matter most to her on her special day. A bride may choose to place a photo of herself and her groom inside her locket for her wedding day, giving the piece a special significance that she will cherish for many years to come.
In a growing trend, today’s brides sometimes add lockets to their bouquets known as memory charms, as a way to create a unique look or to honour loved ones who are unable to be present on their wedding day.
Types of Antiques Lockets
Foliate details like acanthus leaves, forget-me-nots, ivy leaves and ferns were all traditional symbols of remembrance, commitment and love. It is no secret that the Victorians adored symbolism, which is why lockets, one of the most personal jewels of all time, were abundant in these symbolic engravings.
However there were also more unusual kinds of antique lockets too. Wealthy families would commission antique four picture lockets, also known as family lockets, which would neatly open up to reveal multiple frames. These lockets could take the form of books or orbs, with the more expensive kinds bedecked in engravings.
Ivy leaf engraving decorates the outside of the locket. Ivy leaves symbolise eternity, fidelity, and strong affectionate attachment, such as wedded love and friendship.
The 19th century industrial revolution had a tremendous impact on everyone’s day to day life, so naturally even the smallest pieces like lockets would also change. Not only were lockets now easier to engrave, but it also meant that lockets could now be found in all shapes and sizes, and more importantly at different price points.
If you are shopping for an antique locket, but you are also on a budget – you will likely find lots of “9ct Gold Back & Front” lockets. These affordable lockets were crafted with more available base jewellery metals and could either be gilded or have only solid Gold front and back. You can spot an antique Gold back and front locket through metal testing and through hallmarks like “9CT BK & FRNT”.
Lockets were not only worn around the neck as a pendant, but also as finger rings and brooches. On the death of Queen Elizabeth I a ring she wore every day was found to be a locket ring. Contained within the ring was a secret compartment with a portrait of herself and also of her mother, Anne Boleyn.
Many people could not afford to have a portrait painted of their children, husband or wife and so they kept a lock of hair and enclosed it in a locket,
so that it would not become lost.
Here at Lancastrian Jewellers, we stock a great range of jewellery from antique pieces to modern classics, we have something for everyone.