A Complete History of Locket Necklaces: Unveiling Timeless Charm

A Complete History of Locket Necklaces: Unveiling Timeless Charm

Locket necklaces have a rich and fascinating history spanning centuries and symbolising deep emotional connections. These precious items, often crafted from gold or silver, were traditionally used to store treasured keepsakes such as photographs, locks of hair, or even miniature portraits of loved ones. With their unique ability to hold cherished mementoes, lockets have become time-honoured symbols of love, remembrance, and loyalty.

Over time, lockets have evolved in their designs and materials, adapting to suit various eras and styles. From the elaborate lockets of the Victorian era to the contemporary personalised photo lockets, these exquisite pieces have maintained their prominence in the world of fashion and personal adornment. Today, locket necklaces continue to captivate wearers with their sentimental appeal and enchanting beauty.

Gold Memory Keeper Locket Lily Blanche

Key Takeaways

  • Locket necklaces hold a long history as sentimental and symbolic pieces of jewellery
  • They have evolved and adapted through various eras to suit different fashion styles
  • Lockets remain relevant and cherished today for their ability to hold treasured mementoes.

Origins of Locket Necklaces

The history of locket necklaces dates to the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. These early lockets were quite different from the ones in modern times, as they were enclosed and their contents hidden, giving the wearer a sense of secrecy and privacy. These early lockets were typically made of precious metals and adorned with gemstones, making them exclusive to the wealthy.

Green Emerald Necklace Lily Blanche

During the 18th and 19th centuries, locket necklaces continued to evolve and gain popularity, becoming more mainstream and accessible to people of different social classes. Lockets were given during significant events such as christenings, weddings, and funerals. They often contained items that held sentimental value to the wearer, such as photographs, locks of hair, or small love letters. Locket necklaces typically come in a range of different locket sizes, locket metals such as gold/silver lockets & sometimes even come in different shapes and designs for more unusual lockets.

One prominent example of the locket's significance during this period is associated with Queen Victoria. Eight lockets were attached to her bracelet, each containing a lock of her children's hair. Following Prince Albert's death, Queen Victoria wore a locket containing his portrait for the rest of her life. This further cemented the place of lockets in history as sentimental and precious keepsakes.

Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, locket necklaces have evolved to take various forms, including heart-shaped lockets and photo keepsakes. These modern lockets still serve the same purpose as their historical counterparts: to keep cherished memories and loved ones close to the wearer's heart.

gold locket, lily blanche

Evolution and Adaptation over Time

The history of locket necklaces dates back to ancient times when they were worn as a form of jewellery and a carrier of significant personal tokens. They gained prominence throughout the 16th century and continued to evolve in design and purpose with each passing epoch. The early lockets were often made of precious metals and adorned with birthstones or other gemstones, making them a luxury item reserved for the wealthy.

Locket necklaces took on a more covert role following the execution of British King Charles I in 1649. As a symbol of allegiance to a slain monarch and secret society membership, these lockets held a significant political connotation during this tumultuous period.

In the 17th century, lockets became more discreet, concealing their contents and adding an element of secrecy and privacy. The wearer alone knew what was contained within their prized locket, be it a portrait or a strand of hair.

As time went on, locket necklaces began to symbolise love, loss, and remembrance. Notably, Queen Victoria popularised this sentimental aspect after wearing a locket containing Prince Albert's portrait following his death, setting a trend for Victorian-era lockets.

silver queen elizabeth locket

In the contemporary era, lockets have further evolved and now encompass a diverse array of designs and materials. Glass-fronted lockets, for instance, have become increasingly popular for showcasing cherished symbols or photographs.

Throughout their history, locket necklaces have persisted as a captivating piece of jewellery, adapting and adopting new forms to resonate with each era's culture, needs, and desires. The deep-rooted emotional significance attached to lockets cements their place within the annals of jewellery and personal keepsakes. Lockets typically adapted much faster than the known history of other types of jewellery.

Different Types of Locket Necklaces

Locket necklaces have been part of fashion and culture for centuries, resulting in a variety of styles and designs that have evolved over time. These pieces often have personal and sentimental value, as they traditionally contain a portrait, a lock of hair, or a tiny love letter from someone dear to the wearer.

In the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, lockets were often worn by royalty and aristocracy. These ornate pieces were extravagantly designed, often adorned with precious gemstones, and sometimes even painted with miniature portraits. As time went on, the popularity of lockets spread, and they became more accessible to people from all walks of life.

Gold garnet locket

One of the most prized types of lockets during the 18th and 19th centuries was the mourning locket. These pieces were worn to remember a deceased loved one and often contained a lock of their hair or a miniature painting of their portrait. Mourning lockets were usually made from materials like jet or black enamel, reflecting the sombre mood of mourning.

Another type of locket, known as the photo locket, gained popularity in the 19th century with the advent of photography. These pieces allowed wearers to carry a small photograph of their loved ones, making it more affordable and accessible for people to have a personalised piece of jewellery. Photo lockets come in various shapes and sizes and sometimes have intricate engraved patterns on the exterior.

Heart-shaped lockets have also been a beloved style for centuries. These romantic pieces traditionally symbolise love and affection, often carrying a love note, photograph, or piece of hair from a loved one. Heart lockets are particularly popular as gifts for Valentine's Day or anniversaries, and are commonly crafted from metals such as gold, silver, or rose gold.

Lily Blanche gold heart locket

Modern lockets have evolved to suit contemporary tastes and styles. They now come in various materials and may even incorporate technology, such as digital photo lockets or those with miniature USB drives for storing digital memories.

In conclusion, locket necklaces have a rich history and have evolved into a myriad of styles, shapes, and materials. Whether worn for sentimental reasons or purely as a fashionable accessory, lockets maintain their status as a timeless and meaningful piece of jewellery.

Role and Significance in Fashion

Locket necklaces have played a significant role in fashion throughout history, serving as both functional and decorative accessories. These versatile pieces of jewellery typically feature a pendant with an enclosed space, usually reserved for storing cherished items such as photographs, hair, or other mementoes. Worn on a chain around the neck, locket necklaces often hold personal significance for the wearer and can symbolise love, remembrance, and even secrecy.

silver locket necklace, lily blanche

From their origins in the Roman Empire, locket necklaces have evolved into an enduring fashion statement, transcending different cultures and eras. During the Renaissance period, lockets were often adorned with intricate enamelling, gemstones, and pearls, reflecting the opulence of the time. By the Victorian era, these necklaces grew in prominence as sentimental keepsakes, often featuring portraits or locks of hair from loved ones as a way to preserve personal memories.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, locket necklaces have continued to adapt to modern fashion trends while retaining their emotional significance. Today, they are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and sizes, from vintage-inspired designs to contemporary, minimalist interpretations. They also serve as a popular choice for commemorative occasions such as weddings or anniversaries, allowing wearers to carry a piece of their loved one with them.

silver heart locket lily blanche

Although locket necklaces have historically conveyed a sense of mystery and privacy, in recent years they have also been embraced by celebrities, further consolidating their position in mainstream fashion. This has contributed to the resurgence of personalised jewellery, with lockets embodying the perfect combination of style and sentiment.

In conclusion, locket necklaces have consistently held a significant role in fashion throughout history. Their enduring appeal lies in their ability to combine both emotional resonance and visual appeal, making them a timeless accessory that transcends trends and generations.

Personalised Locket Necklaces

Personalised locket necklaces are a unique and meaningful way to express one's individuality and keep treasured memories close to the heart. These sentimental pieces of jewellery have been popular throughout history, evolving in design and purpose over the centuries.

gold round locket

In the past, lockets were used as amulets and symbols of political affiliations; however, today's locket necklaces mainly serve as a way to hold photographs, sentimental tokens, or even small notes. The personalisation aspect comes in various forms, including engraving, custom designs, or the inclusion of meaningful photos.

One of the essential features of a personalised locket is the engraving, which can include initials, names, dates, or even meaningful quotes. This feature adds a unique touch to the locket, making it a one-of-a-kind item that holds great sentimental value to its wearer. In addition to text, lockets can be engraved with intricate designs or symbols that hold special meaning for the individual.

gold engraved locket

As well as traditional round and heart-shaped lockets, modern locket necklaces come in various styles, such as envelope-shaped lockets or even 3D designs. These creative touches allow for a unique and personalised piece, making it an ideal gift for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or a celebration of a personal milestone.

Personalised locket necklaces can be made from a variety of materials, such as gold, silver, or even leather. When making a selection, it's essential to consider the individual's taste and preferences, as well as their lifestyle and activities that may affect the durability of the materials used.

gold four photo locket, lily blanche

When choosing personalised jewellery such as locket necklaces, a key consideration is the selected images or physical tokens that will be placed inside the locket. Ensure that the chosen items will not only fit inside the locket's space but also reflect the sentimentality the wearer wishes to carry with them.

In conclusion, personalised locket necklaces are versatile and meaningful pieces of jewellery that allow individuals to carry memories and meaning close to their hearts. Whether it's a gift for oneself or someone special, a personalised locket necklace adds a unique touch that will be cherished for years to come.

The Crafting Process of Locket Necklaces

The creation of a locket necklace involves a meticulous process, often executed by skilled artisans. Throughout history, lockets have been made from precious metals such as gold and silver, known for their durability and aesthetic appeal.

In the early stages of crafting a locket, the chosen metal is carefully melted and moulded into the desired shape. Once the basic structure is formed, the metal is polished and the intricate details are engraved or embossed onto the surface. This level of craftsmanship gives each locket a personal and unique touch.

gold diamond locket

The next step in the process is the creation of the locket's hinge and clasp mechanism. Precision is vital during this stage, as a secure and well-functioning closure ensures the safekeeping of the treasured items placed inside the locket. Once the hinge and clasp have been crafted and attached, the locket can open and close smoothly.

If the locket necklace is meant to hold a photograph, a small glass or transparent plastic pane is fitted within the frame. The addition of this protective cover safeguards the photo or memento from damage caused by exposure to the elements or daily wear.

The final stage of the crafting process is attaching the locket pendant to a chain or necklace. The chain's style and length may vary depending on the design or personal preference. The finished locket necklace serves as a beautiful accessory and a sentimental piece that holds a special memory or connection to a loved one.

Throughout time, the crafting process of locket necklaces has remained largely unchanged, preserving the traditional techniques that embody the charm and significance of these treasured accessories. The creation of a locket necklace is a true testament to the artistry and dedication of the artisans who have kept this craft alive throughout the ages.

lily blanche heart locket

Maintaining and Storing Locket Necklaces

Proper maintenance and storage are crucial to preserving the beauty and longevity of locket necklaces. Locket necklaces often hold special sentimental value; therefore, taking care of these delicate pieces of jewellery is essential.

When wearing a locket necklace, it is crucial to avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, moisture, and excessive heat. Perfumes, body lotions, and hairsprays can cause discolouration and damage to the metal and gemstones. It is advisable to put on the locket necklace after applying these products and allowing them to dry.

It is essential to clean locket necklaces regularly to maintain their appearance and function. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or residue on the surface. For more stubborn dirt, a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap solution can be used. However, take care to avoid soaking the locket, especially if it is not water-resistant or holds delicate items like photographs or hair.

Storing locket necklaces properly is vital in preventing scratches, dents, and other damage. Keep the locket in a soft pouch or a separate compartment in a jewellery box. Storing necklaces individually helps avoid potential tangling with other pieces, which can cause stress on the chain and locket.

Lily Blanche jewellery care kit

For locket necklaces with intricate designs or those made of precious metals, periodic professional maintenance is recommended. An expert can assess issues like loose hinges or clasps and can perform appropriate repairs to ensure the locket remains functional and secure.

By following these guidelines for maintaining and storing locket necklaces, one can help preserve their sentimental value and cherished memories for years to come.


In summary, locket necklaces have a rich and fascinating history that spans across centuries. These timeless pieces of personalised jewellery have served various purposes, from being amulets warding off evil to sentimental mementoes preserving the memory and essence of loved ones. Over time, lockets have evolved in terms of design, material, and use, reflecting the various cultural and historical periods they traversed.

Today, lockets continue to be a popular choice for individuals seeking a unique and meaningful piece of jewellery. Personalised lockets capture the essence of their wearer, carrying important memories and serving as a constant reminder of love, friendship, or family. Their enduring appeal is a testament to their versatility and significance in the world of jewellery.

lily blanche silver locket

In a world where trends come and go, the locket necklace remains a classic accessory cherished by people of all ages and backgrounds. With the ever-evolving nature of fashion and personal expression, it is safe to say that lockets will continue to adapt and remain relevant as cherished symbols of love, memory, and fashion throughout the years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

When were locket necklaces first invented?

Locket necklaces have a long and intriguing history. Although there is no exact information on when and where locket necklaces were first worn, they are believed to have been used as amulets during the Middle Ages to protect wearers from evil, disease, or the devil.

How did the symbolism of lockets evolve?

Over time, the symbolism of lockets changed to convey various meanings. In the 17th century, they were used to express allegiance to a fallen monarch, as seen in Great Britain following the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Lockets also held sentimental value, often containing a lock of hair or a small portrait of a loved one.

What is the significance of Victorian lockets?

During the Victorian era, lockets gained popularity as a sentimental piece of jewellery. They were often given as gifts to commemorate significant events or to remember a deceased loved one. The intricate designs and motifs found on Victorian lockets, such as flowers and religious symbols, added to their personal and emotional significance.

What are the key components of a locket?

A locket is a small case, typically made from precious metal, with space to hold a memento such as a charm, lock of hair, or photograph. The locket can be worn as a necklace, ring, or bracelet. In the past, some lockets were even used to hold perfume or poison.

Can you explain the rise in popularity of lockets over time?

Lockets have experienced a rise in popularity due to their versatility and sentimental value. Over the centuries, their use has evolved from protective amulets to meaningful personal jewellery. The demand for lockets grew, especially during the Victorian era, as they became fashionable gifts and keepsakes to commemorate important life events or to remember loved ones.

What role did lockets play in 17th century fashion?

In the 17th century, lockets served as a form of political expression and were used to signify membership in secret societies or allegiance to a slain monarch. They were worn by both men and women of the upper class, often containing symbols representing their political affiliations.

Looking to bring some history to life? Shop our elegant Lockets: 

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