A short life only

Large medallion pendant in onyx, gold & diamonds, dated 1870

Memories are our most precious treasure. A picture, a lock of hair, perhaps even a letter: we often own very personal and intimate pieces that remind us of a loved one. Carrying such objects with you at all times has a comforting effect for many people. Antique lockets can be keepers of these memories and are among the most sentimental pieces of jewellery. Worn openly yet protected from prying eyes, mementos can be safely ensconced in them in a precious casing. This locket commemorates the short life of a very special person. A surrounding engraving on the back reveals that it is a memorial jewel in honor of Selina Hutchinson, who passed from this world at the age of only 18 on June 14, 1870. The engraving surrounds a glazed compartment, meant to hold hair. On the front, the large medallion is elaborately and beautifully designed: Centrally, set on an oval-cut, jet-black onyx, we see a star set with a natural pearl and encrusted with small diamonds. An infinite spiral band surrounds the onyx and leads over a recess to a frame showing intricate enamel work. Small decorative elements on all four sides of the framing, with a suspended pendulum at the bottom, complete the piece of jewelry. For comparative examples see Brigitte Marquardt: Schmuck. Realismus und Historismus (1850-1895), Munich/Berlin 1998, p. 231ff, and on the form of the star David Bennet and Daniela Mascetti: Understanding Jewellery, Woodbridge 2010, p. 230.

In the 19th century, lockets were indisputably among the most popular pieces of jewellery, enjoying the highest popularity among all social classes. Stored close to the heart, medallions could be used to keep alive mementos of loved ones or happy events, protected from prying eyes. When photography became affordable in the course of the century and the new light pictures replaced the previously common miniature paintings, the fashion arose to also carry these small marvels of technology in a locket. Depending on taste and purse, the jewelers and goldsmiths of those years produced very different pieces in tombac, silver or gold.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

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.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


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.