Tag Archives: antique jewelry

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The Undeniable Appeal of Timeless Antique Lockets

Although the wearing of special tokens such as amulets and sentimental baubles is certainly an ancient practice, the popularity of lockets began to rise in the 17th century and reached its peak of popularity in the Victorian Era. A bauble worn close to the heart and containing an image or memento of a cherished loved one becomes an incredibly personal piece of jewelry.  We’re thrilled to offer both a treasure trove of stunning lockets at HeirloomFinds.com and a little insight into their history in this week’s blog.

Lockets often served as meaningful pieces of mourning jewelry. The Victorian Era’s low life expectancy and high mortality rate meant that baubles designed to honor a lost loved one’s life were in high demand and at the center of the period’s fashion scene. Queen Victoria initiated the decades-long trend when she went into mourning for her mother and husband in 1861, inspiring society to follow suit and adorn themselves in black clothing and jewelry replete with memorial significance at the loss of a family member.

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Antique lockets are filled with sentimental significance.

This is not to say that all lockets of the age were used strictly for mourning. Family members and sweethearts alike would exchange lockets as a sentimental sign of devotion. The wearer of a gifted locket would enjoy a special link to the piece itself, as well as its contents and the person from whom it was given. So heart-warming!

The growth of the middle class and the lowering of production costs gave a wider range of people of varying social statuses access to jewelry, both mourning and otherwise. Previously, affluent members of society could commission portraits of loved ones to be worn in lockets of gold and silver. The development of photography and introduction of base metals made lockets more affordable for the lower classes. Well-off individuals could still have specially designed, bespoke lockets made for them. The lower classes could choose from pieces already available and personalize their interiors with photos, woven hair or other tokens.

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Although this might look like a regular gentleman’s pocket watch, it’s actually a remarkably meaningful locket.

In the United States, lockets were especially popular during the Civil War. Soldiers leaving for battle could have their portrait taken for a loved one to wear in a pendant or brooch. They could also carry tokens of their families and sweethearts with them in cleverly secretive lockets of their own. For example, one piece we have discovered at first glance appears to be a pocket watch, but opens to reveal the portraits of an older man and woman  presumably an officer’s parents. One portrait can be removed from the case and reversed to reveal a young lady’s photograph. How deceptively darling!

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This WWII Era bracelet combines a modern expansion band with a locket that’s full of Victorian vibes.

The use of lockets decreased around the First World War, but came back in vogue during WWII as soldiers were leaving their sweethearts behind on the home front. The pieces of this more recent era have an air of Victorian sentimentality, but often boast their own flairs of modern design and construction.

But what is the appeal of antique and vintage lockets today? For one, their beautiful artistry is timelessly appealing. And who can deny the attraction of concealing a secret while at the same time wearing it around your neck? The aspect we find most appealing, however, is how it offers an analog escape from the digital world. Of course you can keep all the images you like of family, friends and partners on your electronic devices, but a locket creates a special space to hold a tangible token of a person you care deeply about. A locket is real, always accessible and will never run out of battery power.

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One watch chain would be used to style multiple lockets, watches and pendants in its lifetime.

One final note about the vintage and antique lockets we offer on Heirloom Finds: Many of our locket pendants come with new gold-filled cable chains to create immediately wearable necklaces. You don’t often find lockets of yesteryear on chains, however. Instead, an individual would usually obtain one or more lockets separately and then style them one at a time on a single watch chain. This particular practice of displaying wearable keepsakes lasted up until the 1930′s.

The important questions to ask now are, how will you wear your lockets and what secret treasures will they contain?

by Sarah Clark

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Why Buy Vintage Jewelry?

Vintage Earrings and Tags

These vintage clip on earrings have gorgeous retro flair.

Objects carry a meaning, with each owner infusing their own energy into every item. That’s the power of vintage jewelry. With a vintage piece, you’ll be the only one wearing that specific look. People notice. It becomes your It Girl signature, a way to stand out. It’s about sensibility as much as style.

Vintage KJL Layering

Layering on luxe vintage necklaces adds classic style to a modern trend.

We seek out vintage finds with current trends in mind; nothing goes up on our site unless we think it’s relevant today. Vintage jewelry worn in a contemporary context ties together past and present, a history that adds emotional depth to your everyday wardrobe and dovetails with the repetition and evolution of up-to-the-minute fashion cycles (Vogue says that for 2015, it’s the 1970s).

VIntage Turquoise Bracelets

This Southwestern style vintage baubles are fabulous for crafting a boho look.

Our vintage offerings bring you a huge variety that spans decades. Styles range from romantic Victorian-revival cameos to pin-up era Bakelite brooches to tailored, long pendants from the Nixon years to Native American sterling and turquoise from the Age of Aquarius that perfectly accent today’s boho looks. Whether you want a classic gold bangle that adds just a touch of difference or a bold rhinestone bib that shouts Hollywood vixen, there is something in our vintage collection for you.

Bakelite Rose Brooch

Make every day Throwback Thursday with pretty baubles like this vintage Bakelite brooch.

Not only does vintage jewelry come with a rich backstory — you get craftsmanship and staying power for only a fraction of what a new designer piece of fashion jewelry might cost. We pull together notable pieces with an eye for top condition and a deep knowledge of the era’s history. We know when a find truly is a find, because we’re familiar with the materials, techniques and history of the manufacturer.

Vintage Cupid Necklace

The ages haven’t tarnished these lovely accessories’ romantic feel.

That’s because Heirloom Finds was built on our love for antiques and collectibles. For years, our co-founders Kim and Jeanne have scoured estate sales and auctions, looking for notable pieces and fun finds. The very basis for our fashion jewelry business began with vintage jewelry. It’s in our blood — Jeanne’s parents were antique dealers, and Kim’s idea of a relaxing weekend still includes hitting up flea markets.

Vintage Fan Necklace

Expect to craft looks that are as exquisite as they are unique when you buy vintage jewelry.

And the best part is that we do the legwork for you. When you order vintage jewelry from Heirloom Finds, you know it’s the finest example of its kind, because we buy for condition and relevance. Our fast, free delivery means a distinctive vintage piece is only a few clicks away. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone you love, vintage jewelry offers a romance and power all its own.

by Sara Bir

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