E. Vernier is a famous French medaillist, that was one of the foremen of the revival of the medaillist art in France around 1886. He was also a collaborator of Falize (other famous French jeweller) and awarded the prestigious “Medal of Honor at the Salon”.
A similar pin is depicted in the famous “jewelry bible” by Henri Vever “French Jewelry of the Nineteenth Century” in the English translation on page 1048.
Antique gold locket in book shaped, height turquoises, floral pattern, bouquet of roses and butterfly on each side, the edges present granulation work, invisible hinge, open space with original human hair protected by a glass. Fixed bail and ribbed hoop.
This is magnificent French craftsmanship from the first half of the 19th century. The goldsmith used very small balls (granules) of gold along the borders, which are not soldered to the piece but welded. This technique demand very high skills and precision from the maker. Inside there is a compartment where still a lock of hair is kept.
If the jewel speaked openly of the wearer, it could also do so in secret. Rings and lockets contained a memory of a loved one: love letters, locks of hair, photographs. In the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the jewel is a “sign of memories”. The use of precious materials like gold and turquoise reinforced this feeling. “Do not forget me” or “think of me” translated by the color blue, a popular color used among lovers.
Locket “bouquet de roses” ref.10165-0470
18 carats red/yellow/green gold, ram’s head hallmark
turquoises, human hair
dimensions: 3.04 cm (1.20 inch) by 2.42 cm (0.95 inch)
weight: 19.80 grams
Fine antique French locket
This locket is a pendant that opens to reveal a space used for storing a photograph or other small item such as a curl of hair. Lockets are usually given to loved ones on holidays such as Valentine’s Day and occasions such as Christenings, weddings and, most noticeably during the Victorian Age, funerals.
Lockets are generally worn on chains around the neck and often hold a photo of the person who gave the locket, or they could form part of a charm bracelet. They come in many shapes such as ovals, hearts and circles and are usually made of precious metals such as gold and silver befitting their status as decorative jewellery.
Lockets usually hold only one or two photographs, but some specially made lockets can hold up to eight. Some lockets have been fashioned as ‘spinner’ lockets, where the bail that attaches to the necklace chain is attached but not fixed to the locket itself which is free to spin, this was a common style in the Victorian Age.
It could be well possible that this locket was made to celebrate the passage of Halley’s comet. The passage of Halley inspired jewellers to make jewels in the shape of celestial bodies. This comet appears every 76 years. In 1705 Edmond Halley predicted, using Newton’s newly formulated laws of motion, that the comet seen in 1531, 1607, and 1682 would return in 1758 (which was, alas, after his death). The comet did indeed return as redicted and was later named in his honor.
Or the maker of this beauty was just into stars…. who will tell after so many years?
Click the picture for more information on this beauty.