Victorian Scarab Beetle Necklace with Hair Locket

$975.00
About Details History
For ages, scarab beetles have been used as amulets of rebirth and resurrection. In Ancient Egypt, it became popular practice to place a scarab over the heart of a mummified person. Known as "heart scarabs", these artifacts were meant to be weighed against the feather of truth during the soul's final judgement. Egyptians regarded the heart as the center of emotion, intelligence, and memory, and keeping it in the body of the deceased was of utmost importance. Thus, the beetle served as an emblem for the vital organ, echoing the heart's significance in the afterlife of the deceased. This pendant features a scarab beetle -yes, a real one- mounted in gold with articulated legs and antennae. The reverse side is a glass-fronted locket holding a lock of silver hair. It dates to the Late Victorian period, a time that marked the major archaeological discoveries in Egypt and the ensuing popular fascination with Ancient Egypt and its decorative motifs. 

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  • Materials: 10k gold (tests), scarab, glass, hair, new 14k chain
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Very good - some discoloration to the gold surrounding the beetle
  • Size: 1 x 3/4", 18" chain
  • Location: To see this necklace in person please visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
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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
For ages, scarab beetles have been used as amulets of rebirth and resurrection. In Ancient Egypt, it became popular practice to place a scarab over the heart of a mummified person. Known as "heart scarabs", these artifacts were meant to be weighed against the feather of truth during the soul's final judgement. Egyptians regarded the heart as the center of emotion, intelligence, and memory, and keeping it in the body of the deceased was of utmost importance. Thus, the beetle served as an emblem for the vital organ, echoing the heart's significance in the afterlife of the deceased. This pendant features a scarab beetle -yes, a real one- mounted in gold with articulated legs and antennae. The reverse side is a glass-fronted locket holding a lock of silver hair. It dates to the Late Victorian period, a time that marked the major archaeological discoveries in Egypt and the ensuing popular fascination with Ancient Egypt and its decorative motifs. 

less
more

  • Materials: 10k gold (tests), scarab, glass, hair, new 14k chain
  • Age: c. 1860
  • Condition: Very good - some discoloration to the gold surrounding the beetle
  • Size: 1 x 3/4", 18" chain
  • Location: To see this necklace in person please visit our shop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
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