Aesthetic Movement Compass Locket

$1,200.00
About Details History
The Aesthetic Movement, or Aestheticism, was an approach to art, design, and fashion that began in the 1870s and lasted until the end of the Victorian era. The ethos of the movement was "art for art's sake", and it took inspiration from a variety of styles - Asian art being of noteworthy importance. This c. 1880 Aesthetic Movement compass locket is engraved with a nature scene using anglicized interpretations of Far Eastern motifs. This style, sometimes known as Orientalism, is one of the hallmarks of Aesthetic Movement design. The locket is fashioned in 18k gold with sterling silver details. The face features a green gold butterfly fluttering above a bird perched alongside a flower. The obverse is engraved with a tree trunk and blossom. The interior holds a working compass with directions written in Chinese characters. Hangs from a new 18" 14k gold chain. Japanese hallmark for gold content on the bail.

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  • Materials: 18k yellow gold, silver, 14k yellow gold chain
  • Age: c. 1880
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Size: 3.2cm x 2.5cm locket (including the bail), 18" chain
  • Location: To see this necklace in person, please visit our shop in Nolita, New York.
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VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more

About Details History
The Aesthetic Movement, or Aestheticism, was an approach to art, design, and fashion that began in the 1870s and lasted until the end of the Victorian era. The ethos of the movement was "art for art's sake", and it took inspiration from a variety of styles - Asian art being of noteworthy importance. This c. 1880 Aesthetic Movement compass locket is engraved with a nature scene using anglicized interpretations of Far Eastern motifs. This style, sometimes known as Orientalism, is one of the hallmarks of Aesthetic Movement design. The locket is fashioned in 18k gold with sterling silver details. The face features a green gold butterfly fluttering above a bird perched alongside a flower. The obverse is engraved with a tree trunk and blossom. The interior holds a working compass with directions written in Chinese characters. Hangs from a new 18" 14k gold chain. Japanese hallmark for gold content on the bail.

less
more

  • Materials: 18k yellow gold, silver, 14k yellow gold chain
  • Age: c. 1880
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Size: 3.2cm x 2.5cm locket (including the bail), 18" chain
  • Location: To see this necklace in person, please visit our shop in Nolita, New York.
less
more
VICTORIAN (1837 - 1901) The Western world was thoroughly transformed during Queen Victoria’s epically long reign. New technology, urbanization, and industrialization created a middle class flush with disposable income, and for the first time, jewelry was mass-produced to sell to everyone. The Victorians were avid consumers and novelty-seekers, especially when it came to fashion, and numerous fads came and went throughout the 19th century. In jewelry, whatever fashion choices Queen V. made reverberated throughout the kingdom. The Romantic period reflected the queen’s legendary love for her husband, Albert. Jewelry from this period featured joyful designs like flowers, hearts, and birds, all which often had symbolic meaning. The queen’s betrothal ring was made in the shape of a snake, which stood for love, fidelity, and eternity. The exuberant tone shifted after Prince Albert passed away in 1861, marking the beginning of the Grand Period. Black jewelry became de rigeur as the Queen and her subjects entered “mourning,” which at the time represented not just an emotional state, as we conceive of it today, but a specific manner of conduct and dress. She wore the color black for the remainder of her life, and we see lots of black onyx, enamel, jet, and gutta percha in the jewelry from this time. Finally, during the late Victorian period, which transitioned along with a rapidly changing world into the “Aesthetic Movemement”, there was a return to organic and whimsical motifs: serpents, crescent moons, animals, and Japonaisserie designed for the more liberated “Gibson Girl”. During the second half of the 19th century, America entered the global jewelry market, with Tiffany and Co. leading the way. Lapidaries continued to perfect their techniques, and the old European cut emerged toward the end of the Victorian period. The discovery of rich diamond mines in South Africa made the colorless stones more accessible than ever before.
less
more