You won’t believe the locket jewelry history

This is the most personal story of all the jewelry pieces ever!

It’s incredible how many lockets you can find in an antique jewelry store. All of them tell a story, all of them have an incredible past, some of them even made history. Some are engraved, others still have a lock of hair inside, others a picture… Jewelry lockets are filled with mystery and a vibe that no other jewelry piece can achieve. 

Locket necklaces have a background of love, mourning, remembrance, usually a road to a past. Some lockets are made of gold, others are made of silver, some carry a picture, others an enamel painting, some ashes, hair, or dried flowers. There are even a few lockets that represent a piece of history related to a royal family.

The locket has many forms, not just as a necklace but also as a bracelet, a ring… They were used by men and women. They have evolved and now we tend to think about gold or silver lockets for women.

But it was not always this way, for instance, in WWI male soldiers wore them. It was a quite simple piece but with lots of meaning because they usually carried a family picture inside. During times of war, mainly in WWI and WWII, lockets were used with this purpose: to remind the soldiers of whom they loved.

An intimate part of so many stories, lockets were also used for mourning, because some of them contained ashes. This happened from a place of love because the memory of loved ones who were gone was being preserved. Additionally, they performed a central role in some classic literature: the locket necklace was a symbol of eternal love. Overall, and throughout history this was never just a simple or forgettable piece.

The history of lockets: 15th, 16th and 17th centuries

Ancient amulets gave birth to our current lockets. These amulets were frequently used to protect from evil, danger or disease. In the Middle Ages lockets were worn by men and women. European designs for lockets appear to date back to the 16th century when small pendants were worn to conceal good luck charms, in order to protect against evil spirits and sometimes to protect against illness. At that time, lockets that functioned as a personal perfume diffuser were also popular. These lockets were made with small filigree and contained a small fabric soaked in perfume to conceal the stench of collective living. More rarely, but the following also happened: sometimes this jewelry piece was used to carry poison. Later, the lockets with tiny painted portraits, created with the enamel technique, also started to emerge.  Usually the portrait belonged to the person who gifted the locket.

In 17th century England, the supporters of the executed King Charles I secretly wore lockets with his miniature portrait inside. In 1649, those who maintained their allegiance wore miniature portraits as a political statement, and in his honor. These portraits were contained within secret rings, and others in lockets and charms. A few of these lockets were said to contain locks of King Charles’ hair…   

Lockets became highly popular and a “must-have” fashion accessory during the Victorian era. Prince Albert gifted his beloved Victoria with a bracelet that had eight lockets, filled with a lock of hair from each of their eight children. Victorian ladies wore lockets on chains or on velvet ribbons. And with the death of the Queen’s husband, Prince Albert, this piece of jewelry also gained popularity because the Queen wore a special locket dedicated to the memory of her deceased husband, creating a huge trend dedicated to mourning jewelry.

 

The history of lockets in the 18th  and 19th centuries

Lockets were most popular in the English scene, and among many stories there is a sad one connected with this piece of jewelry. Around 1740, locket necklaces were used to identify babies that were separated from their mothers because they were given up for adoption. These babies were separated from their mothers because they got pregnant while unmarried. Many of these women delivered their babies to orphanages. A locket was separated in two: one part for the baby and the other part for the mother. If the mother returned, she could reclaim the baby by presenting her part of the locket necklace.

During the 18th and the 19th centuries, love heart necklaces became more popular than ever. Love was symbolized by a heart-shaped locket and inside a portrait or a lock of hair was carried. Classic novels portray this jewelry piece as a symbol of love, such as Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

In the 19th century, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre invented the daguerreotype – the predecessor of paper photography. Each daguerreotype was a unique image on a silvered copper plate, that was inserted in a locket. But when paper photography was born, this process became much less expensive, and lockets with pictures inside became more popular and affordable.

The American Civil War in the 19th century was fundamental in expanding the popularity of photography. But the locket necklaces from this time were rare, because the photographs tended to fade extremely fast. 

In England, Queen Victoria (1876-1901) made lockets extremely popular. She wore lockets all the time, she honored her family with the portraits she wore inside them, sometimes in necklaces, sometimes in bracelets. Even when Prince Albert died, she wore a special locket piece dedicated to him. This piece of jewelry, containing a painting of the deceased, also known as mourning jewelry, became very popular at this point in history.

So much so that famous artists hand painted portraits that were featured inside this piece. The monogrammed locket also emerged with the letters engraved on the surface. Needless to say, these pieces were only accessible to the wealthy: men, women, children - whoever wore one was wealthy.

20th century: the story of lockets continues      

Photography changed everything. Photo lockets became much more affordable and because of that, even more popular. During World War I, women presented their love ones with a locket including a picture of themselves before going to war. These lockets were created in silver, gold, and some less precious materials such as wood, pearl, ivory… These locket necklaces were so popular they were sold at post offices, so that they could be easily shipped to the war fronts. While women wore their sweetheart lockets and waited for their loved ones to come back from the war, these lockets were also worn by men in battle, as a remembrance of home. Some soldiers carried lockets with their mothers’ picture, others of their wives or children. This trend continued in WWII, with the same purpose and emotions: a connection to loved ones that were far away.

The necklace locket story today

Current times gave a new light to lockets because of how personal jewelry has become. Keeping a special piece next to your heart is always captivating. The necklace locket is an intimate piece still present in all our lives: we are born, we live, we love, and we die. Many new designs emerged from several brands and designers. This is the most personal piece of jewelry anyone can wear - it’s just like a secret close to your heart. You can engrave it with someone’s initials, fill it with dry flowers, carry a picture of a loved one, a charm, a printed paw of a pet, or even an energy crystal… A locket necklace is a beautiful present for a mother, for a loved one or just for yourself. It can be a gift and an homage, overall a very meaningful piece of jewelry.

The Good Vibes locket was created to remind you of your “me time”. It’s just a secret piece you can wear next to your heart to honor your time and your emotions! You can add a precious stone that can help you boost the energy you need the most: confidence, leadership, calmness, love. Lapis-Lazuli irradiates confidence, Malachite irradiates leadership and Rose Quartz, love. The precious stones reflect your mood, your spirit your “me time”. You can also wear a dry flower, a picture, or an image of a loved one - whatever makes sense for you to carry next to your heart. Because this is the most personal story of any jewelry piece ever.

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