SOLD -- 1870s Victorian 12k Gold & Black Enamel Mourning Locket with Seed Pearls
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Now all but forgotten, the art of wearing mourning jewelry was once a common practice for hundreds of years. Popular in the time before photography, mourning jewelry was created to serve as a keepsake to remember a lost loved one.
Many pieces would include a lock of the deceased's hair or, later, their photograph.
During the 19th century, there was a strict mourning etiquette to guide the bereaved through the healing process. During the first two to three years of the "deep mourning" period, Victorian mourning jewelry was dark in color -- usually black. As one moved through the bereavement process, one's jewelry would change color to represent the different stages of grief.
This beautiful locket is from the deep mourning period of the Victorian mourning process, so it would have been worn daily for 4 years or more. It is 12k gold and covered in a rich, black enamel. The front features a gold-set woman's hand holding three flowers. Each flower has a tiny seed pearl set in the center. The pearls represent the loss of a child.
Inside the locket are two glass panels over what appears to be purple grosgrain ribbon.
Locket comes with a gold-tone chain.
Chain Length: 17"
Considering that this piece was worn daily for 4 years or more (since some people mourned the rest of their lives), it is in great shape. Though it does show signs of wear and has a few issues. The gold is tarnished all over. There are two spots on the front where it looks like the enamel was touched up -- one at the top and one at the bottom. The bottom touch up went over the edge and covered the metal edge. (You can see it in photo 3) It is not noticeable from a distance, but is upon close inspection. There are two chips in the enamel on the back. Still a very beautiful and wearable piece. Priced accordingly.