I am intrigued by antique lockets because you can never be sure what’s inside them. Historically, they have their roots in pomanders developed in the Middle Ages which contained sponges soaked with aromatic vinegars, oils ad perfume to help avoid the smells in the streets. Gradually, lockets moved from being used as pomanders and vinaigrettes to holding other things such as momentos such as hair. For instance, supporters of Charles I preserves secret momentos of the king at a time when their support of him could lead to their death.
The Georgians used lockets as mourning jewellery as did the sentimental Victorians. They placed locks of hair inside, together miniature paintings of loved ones, and then later, photographs of them.
I don’t always know what is going to be inside a locket so it can be a lovely surprise. Take this lovely large Georgian locket with machine turned or guilloche decoration on the front. I was expecting it to be a mourning locket as it has a painting of a woman on the other side.
Inside, I thought there might be a see a lock of hair but this went beyond a lock of hair. One side of the glazed compartment with filled with intricately basket woven hair, with brown and gray threads. So much work and love.
The next locket has a horseshoe motif on the front. I wasn’t expecting to see much inside but again, I was surprised.
As you can see, inside is a curl of hair plus a photo of an older male. I assume that the man in the photo loved horses, hunting or horseracing, hence the horseshoe on the front of the locket.
The last locket I wanted to show you is also gold, but this one has initials on the front in blue, aqua, rust and white.
There are two photos inside, one of a young man, the other of a woman. They look to be dressed in clothing around the end of the 19th century. It would be nice to know more about them.
Hair and pictures are not all that can be found inside lockets. For instance, I have a little Georgian acrostic locket which contains a love letter which is very sweet. But next week, I am going to talk about a locket with very unusual contents.