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Mid VictorianBanded Agate and Enamel Greek KeyMourning Locket


This striking, heavy, beautifully made locket is fashioned in 18k yellow gold with a crisp Greek key pattern rendered in black enamel and a black and white banded agate cabochon at the center. The Greek key design, also known as a meander, takes its moniker from the Meander river in what was Ancient Greece and is now modern day Turkey. The river's serpentine path was considered a symbol of the infinity and the eternal flow of life, the tidy geometric pattern named for the river is an important motif in Ancient Greek art and architecture. Symbols of eternity are frequently seen decorating Victorian era mourning jewelry i.e. the ouroboros, the garter or belt, and the meander lends itself to this decorative use perfectly. The interior holds two empty lockets that very likely once housed locks of hair or perhaps a portrait miniature. Along the frame of one locket is an engraved dedication, "In memory of a dear Father dies Augt [August] 2 1864."


  • Materials

    18k yellow gold (tests), black enamel, banded agate, glass, new 14k gold chain.

  • Age

    Engraved for 1864.

  • Condition

    Very good - most likely there was once a lock of hair in the locket but it is now empty.

  • Size

    1 3/8" length including the bale, 3/4" at the widest point, 18" chain.





RelatedHistory Lesson

Lockets:Magical, Medicinal, Memorial.

It’s hard to pinpoint when modern-day lockets were invented, but it’s believed that they evolved from ancient amulets.