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Lockets Telling Stories

What is a Locket?

Do you remember being fascinated with a locket when you were a child? Perhaps you were lucky enough to have your very own little heart shaped locket, or one decorated with a bluebird or fairy? Perhaps you were in awe of an ornate, heavy locket that had been in your Great-Aunt's family for years? Or maybe your first love gave you a little sterling silver locket that is still in the bottom of your jewellery box? 

Lockets capture our imaginations because of the personal and historic stories they tell. Who can resist opening a locket to see what secrets it keeps safe?

Lockets, trinkets or hinged boxes have been worn on chains or ribbons for hundreds of years. They've contained powders, poisons, "cures", good luck charms, keepsakes, hair, ashes, notes, and most recently, pictures.

In England, Elizabeth I helped make them popular by commissioning two very famous lockets commemorating the defeat of the Spanish Armada. More sentimentally, lockets were given as betrothal, special occasion or memorial gifts.

18th century "In Memoriam" lockets contained a twist of hair and during the American Civil War soldiers often left a lock of hair at home. If they didn't come back, the hair was made into mourning jewellery or placed in a locket.

Round and heart shaped Victorian lockets were popular and were often set with seed pearls or stones or monogrammed with the owners initials. The Victorian fashion was to also keep the locket close to the owner's heart by hanging it on a long chain or pinning it to the breast. As manufacturing techniques changed lockets were mass produced and also became available as costume jewellery. 

Today, lockets are available in many shapes sizes, styles and materials but these small, intricate pieces of jewellery are still a very personal way to capture the imagination, memories and the heart.


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