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 exquisite locket is covered in a vibrant shade of blue enamel, which indicates that it was worn during the final stage of the mourning process, when colors were allowed to be integrated back into the wardrobe. It is set in a complimenting 14k yellow gold.
The locket is inset with a simple five-pointed star outlined in black enamel and 14k gold. In the Victorian era, stars represented guidance for the spirit on a quest in the physical realm or to heaven in the afterlife. Positioned in the center of the star is a tiny seed pearl to symbolize that the original owner of the piece lost a child.
This sweet piece comes on a new gold filled chain.
Date: 1880s Materials: 14k gold, enamel, seed pearl Measurements: Locket: 1" x 3/4" Chain: 18" Markings: None Condition: Good Enamel has faint surface scratches on the front and slightly more noticeable scratches on the back, which is not uncommon as it most likely rubbed against buttons when worn. Scratches are superficial and all of the enamel is still present. There is one small nick in the enamel on the front at the top near the bail. Fortunately, only a few layers of enamel is missing and it is not all the way through so it's not overtly noticeable. There is also a slight nick near the hinge on the back. Also not very noticeable. The pearl in the star has unfortunately been dipped into a harsh cleaning product at some point and has lost its luster. The interior glass also is missing. Despite these minor flaws, this locket is still very beautiful and quite a treasure! Many well-worn enamel pieces are in much worse shape.