Extraordinary large gold medallion with gem, around 1870

So ubiquitous were lockets of all shapes for a time that in 1870 the London Society magazine published a humorous cartoon by Alfred Thomas appropriately titled "The Locketomanic" (see last illustration). It shows a fashionably dressed lady wearing more than thirty different lockets in every conceivable place. This little drawing illustrates with a twinkle in her eye how popular these pieces of jewellery were in Queen Victoria's era. Given this fondness for medallions, it is not surprising that more and more new types emerged, which attracted attention by their trimming, their shape or their size. The present medallion, for example, is of such unusual size that it almost fills the palm of a hand. In the middle of a curved, richly shining gold frame, it presents a conspicuously high quality carved gem. The gem made of lagestone shows a woman whose Greek profile stands out in noble white against the rosy ground. But this is not, as so often, a goddess or muse of antiquity, but rather a lady from a contemporary context, whose luxuriant hair is coiffed in the style of the years around 1870. A hairnet holds the lengths together at the nape of her neck, while a corkscrew curl falls to her shoulder. A long, floral earring adorns her earlobe and an antique-style robe, like the depiction in profile, refers to the antique models of the gems so popular in the 19th century. In view of its size, preciousness and quality, the jewel itself will have stood out from the flood of contemporary medallions around 1870. An outstanding example of the "locketomania" of those years, the locket is both a perfectly preserved collector's item and a worthy repository for beloved photographs, locks of hair or small letters. We were able to acquire it in Great Britain, where it was probably made.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.