Lockets have been a popular piece of jewellery since the 16th century. They can be seen concealed in many different types of jewellery such as rings, bracelets and brooches, with the most common being a pendant. Perhaps one of the most well known is the locket ring of Queen Elizabeth I. She commissioned a locket ring set with pearls and rubies and hidden under the elaborate front of this locket ring are two tiny portraits, one of her and the other of her mother Anne Boleyn.
After the execution of Charles I, secret supporters of the king wore lockets with hidden miniatures. This showed that lockets would also be used as a way of remembering the departed.
As the 18th century progressed into the 19th, a period of great sentimentality arose. Fronts of lockets would be highly ornate with intertwined initials of lovers or set with gemstones spelling out mottos such as Regard, Forever, Dearest and Adore. These treasured love tokens would be shared between sweethearts. Prince Albert gifted such a token to Queen Victoria in the form of a bracelet with eight lockets each holding the hair of one of their children. As time progressed and photographs of loved ones became more common place, lockets which opened to reveal multiple frames for photos appeared.
As Victoria fell into a deep depression upon the death of her beloved Albert, she revived the trend of lockets being used as mourning jewellery. The fronts of these lockets would be decorated with black enamel with memento mori phrases such as “Not lost but gone before” and concealing the loved ones hair. Locket brooches were also seen regularly during this period.
The locket endures as a sentimental piece of jewellery, we are lucky to have an extensive collection of lockets in all of their different forms, why not add one to your collection today.