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Victorian AEI Locket & Necklace


Peruse any collection of photographs from the Victorian era and look carefully at the jewelry of the women. Almost every one of them will be wearing a locket, some form of a heavy necklace or both. Silver ruled as the preferred metal for daytime pieces.

Here we see a lovely example of an oval sentimental locket of sterling silver. Prodigious in both size and weight in the traditional manner, the front of the ornate double box locket is decorated with the letters “A” “E” “I” formed into a stylized monogram of Japanese influence. These initials, originally from the Greek translates to “for now and forever”, (aei, aiei or aion). The Victorians re-interpreted this to represent “Amity, Eternity, Infinity”. An intricate raised design surrounds the outer perimeter of the locket.

This late 19th century silver choker is characteristically ornamental and august in weight. Sporting three rows accented with floral and star pattern, the chain can be augmented using the included separate section of matching chain or worn as photographed. The versatile item can be worn with or without the accompanying locket and can accommodate any number of other pendants.

Date: Circa 1880.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: Necklace is 16-1/2 inches (42 cm) in length by 11/16 of an inch (1.8 cm) in width. Locket itself is 2 1/2 inches with bale (6.3 cm) and total drop is 4 3/4 inches (12.3 cm) from top of ring to bottom of locket. Weighs 94.9 grams (61.0 dwt).

Condition: Excellent. Both inner rims present. Glass or original plastic missing, replaced with modern plastic.

Of Note: The book chain necklace is unique to the Victorian period. So named because each link was a folded rectangular metal piece which resembled a book. Over time this particular nomenclature came to include any type of wide fancy links fashioned into a necklace, chain or choker.

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