Evolving from ancient amulets, European designs for lockets appear to date to the 16th century, when small pendants were worn to conceal good luck charms, small fabric squares soaked in perfume to ward off the poor smells on public thoroughfares, painted portraits, and even, on occasion, poison.
Lockets became 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 velvet ribbons.
A reliquary refers to an early locket created with the purpose of holding a religious relic. These often took the form of a pendant so that the relic could be worn and displayed at all times. An outstanding example with a very special bezeled locket face, a piece of reliquary fabric was lovingly fitted into the front of this beautiful cross with etched backing.
Materials and Features: 9k gold
Age/Origin: Victorian, French, c. 1870
Measurements: 2" long, 13.4 grams
Condition: Excellent condition. Minor associated age wear.
Please view and inspect any photos closely. We endeavor to fully disclose all condition information clearly and concisely, however, please note that what qualifies as excellent condition for historical jewelry differs from modern and contemporary pieces; please take the age of the piece into account when examining the piece. Minor age wear is typical and to be expected for antique and vintage jewelry. Unless otherwise stated, gemstones have not been officially graded for color, clarity, or treatment by GIA; any information provided is our own educated, professional assessment.