Lockets are the new wardrobe essential that allows a woman to capture and carry her most meaningful personal stories. Lockets are that beautiful piece of jewelry that keeps close life’s most significant moments, ideas, and inspirations.
Women of all ages are choosing lockets because they offer a contemporary, yet timeless sensibility coupled with their inherent mystery, intrigue, and – once the wearer makes them her own – unrivaled exclusivity. Lockets are a new wardrobe basic. They are an everyday complement to casual or business attire, as an accent for the special occasions.
There is nothing more romantic than wearing a reminder of someone you love close to your heart. For centuries, the locket—a pendant that opens up to reveal a small space to insert a portrait, lock of hair, or tiny love letter—has been a lady’s favorite accessory to do just that.
Lockets evolved from ancient amulets. European designs for lockets appear to date to the 16th century, when small pendants were worn to conceal good luck charms, small fabric squares soaked in perfume to ward off the poor smells on public thoroughfares, painted portraits, and even, on occasion, poison.
Queen Elizabeth I of England wore her locket ring daily; it contained a painted portrait of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and herself. She often gifted those in her inner circle with a jeweled locket containing her portrait.
The Elizabethans were enamored with lockets, and the artists who painted the miniature portraits contained within them were the best artists of their time. The portraits for the lockets, as well as the lockets themselves, were only for the very wealthy as they were costly.
Lockets became a “must-have” fashion accessory during the Victorian era. Prince Albert gifted his beloved Victoria with a bracelet that had eight lockets, filled with a lock of hair from each of their eight children. Victorian ladies wore lockets on chains or velvet ribbons. Once Albert died, Queen Victoria wore a mourning locket with a photo of him inside every day, setting a fashion trend. Mourning lockets were often made from black bog oak, like the one shown below with the sterling initials on the front.
A popular accessory for centuries, lockets have a unique charm and appeal that has given this jewelry staple a staying power few other trends have enjoyed. Perhaps it’s a woman’s ability to hold her most cherished memories close to her heart that draws both women and men to lockets. For women, lockets are an ideal gift for herself or someone close to her, and for men, lockets serve as the gift that shows a woman how much she means to him, whether a gift for his mother, daughter, partner or a dear friend.
The History and Meaning Behind Lockets
Lockets, due to their ability to tell a woman’s unique, personal story, found a place centuries ago as mourning jewelry and continually evolving to become the height of fashion during Queen Victoria’s reign. Often during the period, sentimental pieces were lockets with a lock of hair inside.
Today, women recognize vintage lockets as the sentimental pieces that were so popular between 1860 and 1880, often worn underneath clothing, close to the heart and rarely noticeable by anyone other than those with whom the wearer chose to share her personal story.
The Significance of Wearing Lockets Today
Today, a beautiful, personalized locket is the perfect finishing touch to add a sentiment to her look. Designers are not alone in their appreciation of the timeless, classic, yet modern appeal of lockets.
Women naturally are drawn to lockets ranging from the simple and classic to the artistic masterpiece, for their ability to carry sentimental value and tell their most meaningful unique stories.
The 21st-century locket is just as fashionable as it is sentimental. Today, lockets are fine jewelry pieces, particularly when they’re created by luxury brands. Uniquely customized and personalized, the modern locket is available in various metals, including sterling silver, yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum, or include customizable gemstone accents, including sapphires, mother-of-pearl, blue topaz, and diamonds.
A locket’s secret-keeping power lends it a special charm and gives it a powerful appeal in a highly social era in which everything seems public. In a social world in which people are sharing photos and updates chronicling all of life’s moments, privacy seems a thing of the past. Yet, lockets provide the wearer with a personal sanctuary in which she can keep her most valuable moments, special messages, engraving, and photos to share her story. The appeal of lockets is that they empower women to choose whether to share their stories with the outside world.
Locket Styles, Customization, and Personalization
Women enjoy customizing and personalizing fine lockets in a variety of ways to tell their personal stories, lending to the sentiment and romance that have underscored fine lockets for many years. Options such as engraving a name, meaningful phrase, personal message, initials, date, or even a quotation, Bible passage, song lyrics, or a favorite literary passage can make a locket even more unique and personal. Personalizing a locket in such a way that it uniquely represents the woman who wears it, in a way that no other piece of jewelry can, is just one reason that personalized lockets are such cherished family heirlooms.
For the woman who may desire to change a featured quotation or phrase from time to time, a quotation printed on paper, like a photo, can easily be changed to reflect the words and phrases that are most meaningful to her at any time. Some women choose to wear an initial locket with her own initials or the initials of a loved one
The various shapes, sizes, and materials in which fine lockets are available to provide even more ways for a locket to carry a deeper meaning while reflecting the wearer’s personal taste and style. Heart-shaped lockets, for example, are often associated with romance and love, but today’s lockets come in a variety of options ranging from the traditional oval to the more contemporary round, rectangular, and square.
Lockets are not limited to being worn on a necklace but are also available as rings, bracelets, and brooches.
When to Wear a Locket? Any Occasion Can Be a Locket Occasion
For the modern woman, lockets are a wardrobe essential, much like earrings and watches. Offering a variety of styles and personalization options, lockets are the perfect accessory for any special occasion. But for many women, a locket carries such personal significance that she feels compelled to wear and share her unique story every day.
Modern lockets come in many designs for different occasions. Some are more formal with diamonds and fine gemstones for a black-tie event or night out, others more casual and understated, suitable as an accent for every day. For this reason, many women have more than one locket, opting for different styles so they can share their personal stories no matter the occasion.
Lockets Provide the Finishing Touches for Special Days
Lockets have become quite popular for weddings, for brides, mothers of brides, and bridesmaids alike, as well as guests. Many brides wear their lockets as necklaces in a subtle tribute to a loved one who is unable to attend the ceremony, as a way to honor the people who matter most to her on her special day. A bride may choose to place a photo of herself and her groom inside her locket for her wedding day, giving the piece a special significance that she will cherish for many years to come.
Modern brides, of course, are increasingly breaking tradition in many ways, and how they choose to wear their lockets is no exception. In a growing trend, today’s brides sometimes adorn their bouquets with a special locket, known as memory charms, as a way to create a unique look or to honor loved ones who are unable to be present on her wedding day.
To commemorate taking her new groom’s name, a bride may add initial lockets to her bouquet reflecting her new initials, or she may opt for initial lockets engraved with her own first initial accompanied by her groom’s first initial.
Among other wedding-day locket trends, lockets also are engraved with the couple’s wedding date, an important Bible verse, or some other memento of this special day that both bride and groom will treasure forever. A bride who chooses photo lockets to carry with her bouquet may showcase wedding photos inside her locket after the ceremony to provide the perfect finish to a personalized locket designed especially to tell her wedding day story long after it becomes a memory.
Gifting the Perfect Locket
Receiving a locket as a gift is often just as rewarding for a woman as selecting and purchasing a piece for herself, as the gift carries deeper meaning based on the relationship between the gift giver and gift recipient. A mother may give her daughter a precious locket to commemorate her 16th birthday, for example, or a husband may choose to give his wife a locket to celebrate the birth of a child. Lockets, with their ability to share personal, unique stories, make memorable gifts for practically any occasion, including birthdays, Christmas, weddings, anniversaries, new homes or jobs, graduations, baptisms, or any other occasion that calls for a story.
Much like a woman choosing a locket for herself, anyone considering a locket as a gift for a friend or loved one has a few considerations to weigh. A locket for a special occasion, or even as a just-because gift, should be selected carefully and with great thought.
In addition to choosing a shape and style to match her taste, a woman’s preferred metal is another choice to consider; often, a locket matching the metal she wears most – gold, silver, or platinum – is an ideal choice.
The aesthetic design of the locket is another consideration, and one with nearly infinite possibilities. While some lockets are especially intricate and delicate, others are bolder with larger stones and precious metal designs. Knowing the personal style of the intended recipient will steer a locket buyer to the design that will both suit her personality and melt her heart.
Today, nearly every woman has at least one piece in her jewelry collection that holds a special meaning to her. Whether it’s a family heirloom, an inexpensive pair of earrings given to her by a close friend, or a bracelet obtained during a memorable trip abroad, it’s these memories that give a piece of jewelry deeper meaning beyond its outward appearance. It’s for this reason that lockets make a perfect addition to any jewelry collection, as their very nature allows the wearer to share the stories that are most meaningful to her.