Antique Lockets

Antique Lockets


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Explore Our Antique and Vintage Lockets

Antique and vintage lockets symbolise love, union and remembrance, a popular piece of jewellery since the 16th century. The term locket refers to a small ornamental case that holds something of sentimental value to the wearer, typically a photograph or a lock of hair. Lockets have been concealed in various types of jewellery, with the most common being a pendant to be worn around the neck. One of the most iconic antique and vintage lockets is the locket ring that belonged to Queen Elizabeth I, which she commissioned to be set with pearls and rubies. The locket contained portraits of her and also her mother, Anne Boleyn. 

Moving towards the 19th century and the Edwardian jewellery era, where sentimentality became far more prominent, highly ornate antique and vintage lockets were designed that featured engravings of lovers' initials or romantic mottos, which were treasured by their wearer as a mark of their love. Another royal who proudly wore lockets was Queen Victoria, who was gifted a bracelet with eight lockets, one to hold a lock of hair from each of their children. As photographs became more accessible, lockets more commonly featured images of loved ones. 

As well as a symbol of love, antique and vintage lockets became a common symbol of mourning, particularly following the death of Prince Albert, after which Queen Victoria revived the trend of wearing a locket to remember those who have passed. Black enamel was most commonly seen for mourning lockets, along with remembrance mementos and lockets of their loved ones' hair. 

Antique and vintage lockets are perhaps some of the most sentimental pieces of jewellery and we are proud to have an extensive collection, from single pendant lockets to brooches and multi-locket necklaces. 


Lockets are small ornamental cases that can be attached to bracelets and pendants, or set into antique rings and brooches. They can hold something small that is sentimental to the wearer, such as a locket of hair or a portrait of a loved one.

The term “locket” derives from the Old French loquet, meaning “door-handle” or “latch”, which mimics the hinge on the locket which can close securely. Others think that the name for antique and vintage lockets derives from the fact that many people chose a lock of their loved ones' hair to place in the ornamental case.

Before the 19th century when photography wasn’t accessible, people most often placed a lock of their loved ones’ hair into the locket. Moving past the Edwardian era, where photography was more available to the higher members of society who were wearing the antique and vintage lockets, they also held portraits of loved ones, either spouses or family who have passed. More recently, people may fill their antique and vintage lockets with a special note from a loved one or place a piece of the lace from their wedding dress in the locket.

Antique and vintage lockets represent love in all forms. Lockets were commonly gifted between lovers or spouses as a mark of their love and commitment, as well as being worn by parents or children to keep their family close to their heart. They were known as romantic or timeless symbols of love. After the passing of Prince Albert, wearing black enamel lockets as a form of mourning became far more common, a precedent set by his widow, Queen Victoria. Antique and vintage lockets were a symbol of the connection someone felt to their loved ones who had passed, whilst also reminding people to live life to the full.

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Updated 25/07/2024 at 2:00PM

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