Victorian Gilt Silver Locket with Enameled Butterfly

$1,650.00
About Details History
This incredible, large sized Victorian locket is made in gilt silver with a beautiful butterfly painstakingly rendered in enamel. The locket is in nearly pristine condition, the interior holds dried flowers (probably not original since the lenses were replaced in the more modern day). To the sentimental and motif heavy Victorian mind, the butterfly was used as a symbol of the soul. Romantic as that sounds (and it is!), its symbolism has pretty literal origins. The life cycle of the butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly parallels the human life span from birth to death to afterlife. Absolutely stunning quality. Hangs from a new 20" gold fill chain.

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  • Materials: gilt silver, enamel, new gold fill chain
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Excellent - one tiny ding on the back but otherwise immaculate
  • Size: 2.5" length including the bale, 1 3/8" wide, 20" gold fill chain with antique clasp
  • Location: To see this necklace in person please visit our shop in Nolita, NYC.
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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
This incredible, large sized Victorian locket is made in gilt silver with a beautiful butterfly painstakingly rendered in enamel. The locket is in nearly pristine condition, the interior holds dried flowers (probably not original since the lenses were replaced in the more modern day). To the sentimental and motif heavy Victorian mind, the butterfly was used as a symbol of the soul. Romantic as that sounds (and it is!), its symbolism has pretty literal origins. The life cycle of the butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly parallels the human life span from birth to death to afterlife. Absolutely stunning quality. Hangs from a new 20" gold fill chain.

less
more

  • Materials: gilt silver, enamel, new gold fill chain
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Excellent - one tiny ding on the back but otherwise immaculate
  • Size: 2.5" length including the bale, 1 3/8" wide, 20" gold fill chain with antique clasp
  • Location: To see this necklace in person please visit our shop in Nolita, NYC.
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