A locket is a pendant that opens to reveal a hollow central space used for storing a small personal item. In the Victorian era these items were usually photographs of loved ones, or locks of hair.
Lockets were popular gifts during the Victorian era and were usually given to loved ones at christenings, weddings and at funerals. They were personalised to their wearer and were often jewelled with precious gemstones to make them both beautiful and sentimental. Black enamel and French jet were used to represent mourning and the Victorians associated seed pearls with purity. The reverses were often engraved with heartfelt inscriptions commemorating late loved ones with dates and poetry.
Victorian jewellery was made during the reign of Queen Victoria, an influential period spanning from 1837 to 1901. Within this era are three distinct periods: the Romantic, the Grand, and the Aesthetic. All of these periods used different motifs, metals and gems as well as fabrication techniques that resulted in a broad variety of stunning and highly sentimental jewellery.
Georgian and Victorian lockets differ in the fact that early Georgian mourning jewellery focused more on the idea of memento mori, to remind the wearer of the inevitably of the death. The concept later morphed into creating memories of individuals by incorporating locks of hair and photographs.