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Victorian Aesthetic Period Locket


The Aesthetic Period (1880 – 1901) of the Victorian age created some of the more “exotic” jewelry of the 19th century. With the breath of the Commonwealth expansion and the new ideas filtering into England, the British craftsmen responded accordingly.

Here we see the impact of the “oriental” theme referred to as Japonaiserie (Japonisme) with its imagery, symbolism and naturalistic outlook. The geometrical designs, based on ancient tradition and legends lent themselves perfectly to the shift in stylistic attitudes of the last 20 years of the 1800s. A switch from the typical oval and round configuration of previous years, this rectangular shaped locket is of vermeil (gold over sterling silver) with accents of rose gold over silver.

Embellished with a checkerboard pattern as background and a diagonal stripe replete with Japanese designs, a traditional fan is engraved with a nature motif of reminiscent of a Japanese print – leaves and reeds with a solitary butterfly hovering above. The back of the locket is smooth and unadorned. The interior reveals double boxes with two rims intact sufficient for two photographs.

Date: Circa 1880.

+ Measurements, Condition & More

Measurements: 2-3/16 inches (5.6 cm) in length including bale by 1-1/8 inch (2.8 cm) in width. Weight of 22.7 grams (14.6 dwt).

Condition: Excellent; original bale intact; original plastic inserts yellowed and replaced with modern ones; even light overall wear; one minor indentations to back.

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