Victorian Mourning Locket Rose Cut Diamond Black Enamel

A strikingly elegant mid-19th century Victorian mourning locket, featuring a 5 mm rose cut diamond (approx. 0.38 – 0.4 carat) suspended in a raised claw setting and surrounded by intricate gold inlay work against a smooth ground of black enamel. A cleverly designed swivel hinge allows the pendant bail to be raised or snapped behind, while a swirling enclosed brooch pin catch enables one to wear the locket as a pendant necklace without the brooch pin irritating the skin. The locket inlay-work, frame, and encasement are all solid 10k gold of a pale rose color.

A note on the metal content: as described above, all outer components of the locket tests as solid 10k gold. However, when I remove the glass cover and the purple silk cloth, I can spot an interior backing of pewter. This was used to provide the locket structural strength and support, as gold is a soft material and very prong to denting and damage. Pewter—a stable white metal alloy containing copper and tin and silver—was favored by the Victorians and frequently used to make teapots and other decorative vessels.

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