Circa 1840, a superb early Victorian Whitby jet locket with an exquisitely detailed carved cameo portrait of a Tudor lady, either Queen Elizabeth I or Mary I (bloody Mary) of England. This is a large heavy locket, fashion in jewellery always follows fashion is clothes, and jet jewellery is no exception. Very large pieces like this were worn in the mid 19th century with the crinoline and the size decreased as the century progressed.
The locket is all original and looks like it has never been worn, it certainly hasn't been used as a locket, the original paper liners, real glass covers and silver picture rings are still inside. It has a beautiful pillowed profile with the jet still a deep glossy black. A large jet ring at the top is pegged into the silver inner frame forming a very secure long lasting bale.
The locket is in superb condition with no chips or cracks in the jet and it closes flush and stays shut with the aid of a heavy duty hinge that is still nice and tight. Any white spots in the photos are camera reflections, the jet is polished to a brilliant shine and it is very reflective.
A fabulous top quality piece of antique Whitby jet jewellery and rare to find in this outstanding condition. The large bale ring means you can wear it with a wide variety of chains, these large lockets look amazing worn on long guard chains (the jet watch chain pictured is not included).
MATERIALS: Whitby jet, silver
SIZE: 2-1/2" (6cm) tall, 1-5/8" (4cm) wide, 19mm deep, ring bale 12mm diameter
WEIGHT: 40.3 grams
DATE: Victorian, circa 1840
CONDITION: in excellent condition, we have more photos of this locket on our website at www.mercymadge.com
Not to be confused with French Jet, which is glass, Whitby Jet is a fossilized mineral gemstone millions of years old that is only found in and around the cliffs at Whitby, a seaside hamlet in England and Whitby jet is considered to be the best quality jet found anywhere in the world. It is closely associated with Victorian and Georgian mourning, so strict was etiquette that upon the death of King George VI in 1830 the government issued a decree that proclaimed "the only ornamentation that shall be worn shall be of jet"
At Mercy Madge we offer a carefully curated collection of antique and vintage jewellery. Each piece is hand selected with you in mind and we rarely come across two identical old treasures, once they are gone, they are truly gone!
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Materials: Whitby Jet, Silver.