In the age of social media, it appears that everyone needs to keep some secrets. Maybe that’s why jewelry lockets are having a big moment. From classic gold hearts to bold stripes, they come in every style, but it’s what’s inside that is the most creative.
“Lockets have a positive energy and help you manifest the things you want,” says Monica Rich Kosann, who is known for curating personal talismans with pictures, engraving, and symbols all in a small locket. While some prefer lockets with love stories, she says more women (and now men) are requesting them with words of empowerment and inspiration.
There are no limits to what’s possible with lockets, says Victoria Lampley, a founder of The Stax, a jewelry advisory service, who facilitates all kinds of unique requests. One client wanted a jewel to hold their dog’s ashes and the memory of a loved one. That resulted in a gold locket made by Renna with the words “how I wonder what you are” on one side, and an engraved portrait of her dog on the reverse with the ashes concealed inside. Lampley herself has a collection of lockets, including a Sherman Field reversible chrysoprase stone and gold model. “I was wearing the stone when I met my husband and legend has it that the stone attracts true love into your life,” she says. It holds photos of her and her husband and of her children and is engraved with a saying her late mother often repeated: “My Pride and Joy.” Now that’s a jewel packed with emotion.
In the jewelry annals, lockets have the most fascinating history, full of juicy tales, innuendo, and even death. From the medieval locket rings that held poison (remember Lucrezia Borgia, who infamously relied upon them to get rid of her rivals?) to pendants that concealed portraits of lovers or locks of their hair, or expressed your political allegiance to an unfavorable leader, lockets have kept preciously guarded secrets for centuries.
Some lockets held secrets that were only revealed postmortem: After the death of Queen Elizabeth I, it was discovered the ring she never took off held a concealed locket with a portrait of her mother, the maligned Anne Boleyn whom her father had beheaded when Elizabeth was just two years old.
Under Queen Victoria’s reign, the locket moved from sinister to sentimental. She popularized the jewel as a fashionable accessory to keep your loved ones close, even after death. She constantly wore a locket that held lock of her beloved husband Albert’s hair, and she commissioned several other lockets holding her children’s portraits and hair, setting the trend for generations to come.
The latest lockets are for more fashionable and fun, but still there’s no limits to what you decide to put inside. Here are 19 stylish lockets that you can fill anything—and I mean anything—you want.
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