February 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Vintage Enamel & Rosewood for February
This pretty little treasure pulls on my heart-strings for a number of reasons! This rather large locket came into my possession a few years back when living in Florida. It is the prime example of why artists (and treasure hunters alike) should frequent local thrift stores. Its lovely floral enamel finish tend to remind me of something akin to a Horocrux (for those of you familiar with Harry Potter). Or maybe it’s the clam shell hinge that is reminiscent of my Father’s and Grandfather’s old pocket-watches. I’ve always thought pocket-watches were such delightful objects! Even Alice’s White Rabbit carried his very own pocket-watch. . . But alas, it is not a pocket-watch, it is something equally intriguing. . . a locket!
The history of lockets dates all the way back to Victorian times, when they were often presented as gifts at funerals. Unlike modern lockets, funerary lockets usually held a lock of hair from the deceased loved one, often a widow. During later times lockets began to hold either a photograph of the deceased or a photograph of the person who gifted the locket. Thus lockets often fall into the category of “mourning jewelry”. Queen Victoria’s lockets were often created from a substance known as ‘Jet’; a type of petrified wood that is often confused with black glass or black Onyx. Over the years, Jet has been used for a variety of purposes, but its use in soothing the pain of a broken heart due to separation or loss of a loved one make it the perfect stone to use for mourning jewelry. This is also the reason lockets are generally worn around the neck; placed close to the heart to evoke healing properties. However, Queen Victoria’s lockets did not contain photographs. Instead, they were filled with small pillow-like cushions on which a few drops of perfume were placed (it wasn’t the most hygienic time period).
This particular locket seems to be made from brass and enamel. It has a very tight hinge/clasp at the top (rather than on the side) with an interesting crosshatching pattern in the brass on the reverse side. It opens and closes smoothly and the inside is pristine; lending to a multitude of ideas and possibilities. Although this little gem is quite pretty it definitely has a presence that resonates with any lover of vintage! There is a bit of dirt around the front inside edges on the enamel, but I tend to think it just adds character!
We travel to a different time period to hear the story behind our next trinket. During the Georgian time period or Renaissance time period, much like Queen Victoria, women began wearing Rosewood (and a variety of other lovely smelling potions) to make up for the fact that deodorant (as we know it) did not exist. Rosewood is known as a symbol of love. Its pungent sweet musky scent persists over many years. Due to it being a very strong and heavy wood, it was often used as a medium to create guitars and elaborately carved furniture. Having rose scented furniture would definitely cut down on the cost of candles and wall plug-ins used to deodorize a room! Rosewood is native to Brazil and is now endangered due to many deforestation projects.
I chose to feature this item in February not only because of Rosewood’s symbolic meaning, but for a few other reasons as well. If you look on the panels of the metal box encasing the piece of Rosewood, you may see a pattern of hearts. These holes allow the scent to escape its container and randomly fill the nostrils of its wearer! It’s a very pleasant scent and a nice surprise when it occasionally drifts up to greet you! The smell is rather relaxing and subtle. Hopefully it will remind you of fairy tales and medieval times; days that seem dreamlike in comparison to the present days full of hustle and bustle.