A Comprehensive Guide To Men's Lockets - History & Styling Tips

The History and Meaning of Locket Necklaces for Men: A Comprehensive Guide

2024 is the year men’s jewellery breaks free from the confines of traditional watches, rings bracelets and chains and embraces the avant garde.

From the men’s brooch – the Bro-Oche - at the Met Gala (see Mike Faist’s Lowe jewel-encrusted radish, Jeff Goldblum’s diamond starbursts and Andrew Scott’s bee brooch trio) to seed pearls for guys (thank you Harry Styles) men’s jewellery has not been this lavish since the Renaissance.

As gender fluidity influences fashion trends and red carpet looks trickle down to the mainstream, searches for men’s jewellery are on the up. According to TikTok, searches for men’s Jewellery rose 1000% in the week to May 1 at over 235k.

At Lily Blanche we’re seeing a rise in lockets for men, with demand highest at Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day but steady all year round. The trend is across all age groups with personalised men’s lockets – filled with photos and engraving – gifted to men in their late teens all the way through to 70. The most popular group for men’s lockets are new fathers.

Although lockets for women were popularised by the young Queen Victoria in the 19th century who was a style-setter for fashionable society, lockets were original designed for and worn by men.

Locket necklaces have been around for millennia and have been used to carry sentimental tokens such as miniature portraits, locks of hair, and even ashes. While lockets are often associated with women's jewellery, they have also been popular among men – particularly noblemen - throughout history. In this article, we will explore the history and meaning of locket necklaces specifically for men.

In Roman times, lockets were used to hold a small locket of hair. By the time of the renaissance, they were often given to travellers and merchants by their lovers. The locket would contain a miniature portrait of the woman who was left behind, and often a lock of hair. The lockets were aide memoires for their husbands and also a good luck talisman to bring them home safely at a time when travel was risky.

During Victorian times, lockets were seen as a symbol of love, remembrance, and mourning. Lockets were often passed down from generation to generation and were considered to be family heirlooms.

Today, locket necklaces for men have evolved to include a variety of styles and designs. Some men still wear lockets containing sentimental items, while others wear lockets purely for fashion purposes. Regardless of the reason for wearing a locket necklace, it remains a timeless accessory that holds a special place in men's jewellery.

Origins of Locket Necklaces

Lockets have been used for centuries to keep pictures, locks of hair, and other sentimental items close to the heart. While they are often associated with women's jewellery, lockets have a long history of use by men as well. In this section, we will explore the origins of locket necklaces, including their use in ancient civilizations and medieval and Renaissance Europe.

Ancient Civilisations

The use of lockets dates back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Rome. In ancient Egypt, lockets were used to hold small statues of gods and goddesses, as well as other religious items. They were also used to hold perfumes and other fragrances. In Rome, lockets were used to hold small portraits of loved ones or famous people.

Medieval and Renaissance Europe

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, lockets became popular in Europe. They were often given as gifts between lovers, family members, and friends. Lockets for men were also used to hold religious relics, such as pieces of bone or hair from a saint. In some cases, lockets were even used as a form of identification, with a small portrait or inscription inside.

As time went on, lockets became more ornate and decorative. They were often made of precious metals and adorned with gemstones, enamel, and intricate designs making them luxury items for the nobility. In the 19th century, lockets became even more popular as photography became more accessible. People began to use lockets to hold photographs of loved ones, creating a new way to keep memories close to the heart.

Overall, the history of locket necklaces is a rich and fascinating one. From their use in ancient civilizations to their popularity in modern times, lockets have always held a special place in the hearts of people around the world.

Symbolism and Sentimentality

Locket necklaces have been used for centuries as a way to keep cherished memories and loved ones close to the heart. These pieces of jewellery are often imbued with deep symbolism and sentimentality, making them a popular choice for men who want to express their emotions and keep special people or moments close.

William Shakespeare and King Henry VIII were known to wear lockets containing portraits or  locks of hair.

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 as a form of secret society membership, 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 was fashionable. The wearer alone knew what was contained within their prized locket, be it a portrait or a strand of hair.

Before becoming King George IV, the then Prince of Wales, a notorious dandy secretly married the love of his life, Maria Fitzherbert.

As their marriage was forbidden, it had to be annulled, but George was so in love with Maria, he kept a portrait of her inside a locket, hidden under his lapel. The portrait was just of her eye and part of a nose, keeping their love a secret.

This story started a fashion trend with portrait lockets between 1790 and 1830. Keeping portraits in lockets is just as popular today as it was then.

Mourning and Remembrance

One of the most common uses of lockets for men is as a way to remember loved ones who have passed away. In Victorian times, it was common for people to wear mourning jewellery as a way to honour the dead and express their grief. Lockets were often used to hold a lock of hair, a photograph, or other mementoes of the deceased.

Today, lockets are still used as a way to remember loved ones who have passed away. Men may choose to wear lockets containing ashes or a small photo of the deceased, as a way to keep them close and honour their memory.

Love and Relationship Tokens

Lockets are also commonly used as tokens of love and affection in romantic relationships. Men and women often give their partners lockets containing a photo of the two of them, or a lock of hair or other sentimental item. This serves as a physical reminder of their love and commitment to one another. At the height of their relationship, Brad Pitt presented Angelina Jolie with a locket containing a portrait of her deceased mother to wear on her wedding day. Using lockets at weddings to symbolise important relatives who have passed away has become a huge trend with lockets often attached to the brides bouquet or incorporated into the wedding jewellery.

Lockets can also be used as a way to express love and affection between family members or friends. A father may give his son a locket containing a photo of the two of them, or a group of friends may exchange lockets containing symbols or images that hold special meaning to their relationship.

Overall, lockets have a rich history of symbolism and sentimentality, making them a popular choice for men who want to express their emotions and keep cherished memories close.

Evolution of Men's Locket Necklaces

Locket necklaces have been popular for centuries, and they have evolved considerably over time. Men's locket necklaces, in particular, have a rich history and have undergone several changes to suit the changing fashion trends and personal preferences of men.

Victorian Era Influences

The Victorian era was a significant period in the history of men's locket necklaces. During this time, men’s lockets were often made of gold or silver and were adorned with intricate designs. They were also often embellished with precious stones, such as diamonds and rubies, to add a touch of luxury.

These lockets were usually given as gifts to loved ones and were meant to hold a small keepsake or photo. They were considered a symbol of love and affection and were often passed down from generation to generation as a family heirloom.

Modern Adaptations

In recent years, men’s locket necklaces have undergone significant changes to suit modern fashion trends. Today, they are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and designs, making it easy for men to find a locket necklace that suits their personal style.

Modern men's lockets are often made of silver or gold to give them longevity and to indicate the preciousness of the sentiment they represent and the photos inside. They are also available in a range of shapes, including round, hexagonal, and oval. Some modern lockets are even designed to hold a small amount of ashes, making them a popular choice for men who want to keep a loved one close to their heart.

In conclusion, men's locket necklaces have a rich history and have evolved considerably over time. From the intricate designs of the Victorian era to the modern adaptations of today, they remain a popular accessory for men who want to express their personal style and keep their loved ones close to their heart.

Modern Day Men Embracing the Locket

Today, men's lockets are back in style, shedding their solely sentimental past and becoming a recognized fashion statement. Here are a few examples of celebrities rocking the locket look:

  • David Beckham (English Footballer): Known for his trendsetting style, Beckham has been spotted wearing a locket necklace.
  • Pharrell Williams (American Musician): The Grammy-winning artist incorporates lockets into his eclectic wardrobe, proving lockets can be edgy and unique.
  • Ryan Reynolds (Canadian Actor): The ever-charming Reynolds has been seen sporting a locket, showing that lockets can add a touch of sophistication.

Cultural Significance

Literary References

Locket necklaces for men have been featured in literature for centuries. In Victorian times, lockets were often given as gifts to express love and affection. In "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens, the protagonist Pip gives a locket to his love interest Estella as a symbol of his affection. The locket itself is described as a "pretty little trinket" that Estella wears around her neck.

Global Variations

The cultural significance of locket necklaces for men varies across different regions of the world. In Japan, for example, lockets are often given as gifts to express gratitude and appreciation. In some African cultures, lockets are worn as a symbol of protection and good luck.

Overall, locket necklaces for men have a rich cultural history and continue to hold significance in many parts of the world. Whether given as a gift or worn for personal reasons, the locket remains a timeless piece of jewellery that is cherished by many.

Choosing and Wearing a Locket

When it comes to choosing and wearing a locket necklace, there are a few things to consider to ensure that it looks stylish and complements your outfit. Here are some tips to help you choose and wear a locket necklace for men.

Material and Craftsmanship

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a locket necklace is the material and craftsmanship. Locket necklaces can be made of various materials such as gold, silver or precious stones such as lapis lazuli. Each material has its unique characteristics and appeal, so it's essential to choose one that suits your style and personality.

In terms of craftsmanship, a well-made locket necklace should be durable and long-lasting. Look for lockets that are made with high-quality materials and have a sturdy clasp to ensure that the locket stays securely fastened.

Styling Tips

When it comes to styling a locket necklace, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that it looks stylish and complements your outfit. Here are some styling tips to help you wear a locket necklace for men.

  • Choose the right length: The length of the chain is crucial when it comes to wearing a locket necklace. A longer chain can create a more relaxed and casual look, while a shorter chain can create a more formal and sophisticated look.
  • The heaviness of the chain is also an important factor. Belcher chains can add heft to a man’s locket and make it more of a masculine statement necklace.
  • Layer it up: Locket necklaces can be layered with other necklaces to create a unique and stylish look. However, it's essential to ensure that the necklaces complement each other and don't clash.
  • Consider the occasion: When choosing a locket necklace to wear, it's essential to consider the occasion. A simple and understated locket necklace can be perfect for everyday wear, while a more elaborate and ornate locket necklace can be ideal for special occasions.


Lily Blanche: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

At Lily Blanche, we offer a diverse collection of men's lockets, allowing you to find the perfect piece that reflects your style. Choose from a variety of metals, including sleek silver and timeless gold. We also offer a wide range of engraving options, making your locket truly personal.

Why Choose a Locket?

Lockets are more than just an accessory; they're a way to keep cherished memories close. Whether it's a photo of a loved one, a handwritten note, or a special charm, a locket allows you to carry a piece of your story wherever you go.

Lily Blanche: Your Destination for Men's Lockets

Explore our collection of men's lockets and discover a timeless piece that speaks to you. Visit Lily Blanche today and find the perfect way to keep your most treasured memories close to your heart.

In summary, choosing and wearing a locket necklace for men requires careful consideration of the material, craftsmanship, and styling. By following these tips, you can ensure that your locket necklace looks stylish and complements your outfit.

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