Antique pendant necklaces are extremely wearable and can make a particularly memorable gift. From solitaire diamond vintage pendants through to decorative Victorian pendants, we have a selection of unique antique pieces which will be forever treasured.
A pendant is an ornament which is typically suspended from a chain around the neck, or other jewellery piece. The term ‘pendant’ is derived from the French word ‘pendre’ meaning ‘to hang’. Amulets of shell, teeth and stone, believed to possess magical powers and ward off evil spirits were worn around the neck throughout the Stone Age. This practice of hanging an object around the neck continued through to Ancient Egypt and Rome, and far beyond. Today they continue to be one of the most popular of jewellery pieces.
Some of the earliest examples of the pendant can be seen in ancient jewellery. Even in the Roman period, craftsmen were creating pieces which had articulation and movement. This theme of movement continued throughout pendant design and is a quality of great importance.
Popular antique pendant motifs include lockets, hearts and crosses. Perhaps one of the most romantic of gifts is an antique locket - a piece which can open to reveal space for a photograph or object. Lockets were particularly popular in the Victorian and the early Edwardian periods, when people were inspired by Queen Victoria and enjoyed sentimentality and romance. These lockets were often heart shaped, engraved or gem-set. Our Diamond Heart Shape Locket Pendant with engraved reverse, reference 20700 is a particularly fine example of Edwardian workmanship, and the Sapphire and Diamond Heart Shape Locket Pendant, reference 20850 is a classic example of a decorative gem-set Victorian locket. Antique cross pendants were often adorned with highly decorative detailing and set with precious gemstones popular in Georgian jewellery; see our Georgian Citrine Cross Pendant, reference 14404, which boasts very fine cannetille work.
Antique gemstone pendants can be particularly versatile, and can be worn from day through to night. Popular gemstones include natural pearls, diamond, amethyst and aquamarine. Flowers and petals are recurring motifs throughout antique pendants, often used in the settings of a suspended gem; see our Victorian Natural Pearl and Diamond Pendant, reference 19122. Negligee pendants composed of two pendant drops usually at differing lengths were also a popular design and can add an even greater dimension of movement.
Antique and vintage pendants can make extremely wearable and romantic love tokens. Their uniqueness and proximity to the heart makes them ideal for commemorating a special occasion.