Lockets to Accessorize Your Summer Outfits With

The centuries-old locket gets a modern update.

(Image credit: Jeffery Westbrook)

Lockets have been distinctly personal since becoming popular in the 16th century, but their history is perhaps more colorful than you realized. Though their most common contents were snippets of hair from a loved one, in the 1500s the necklaces could also hold bezoars (small stones from animal stomachs, believed to provide protection to the wearer). Legend has it that one even held the owner’s own amniotic sac!

While filling lockets with body parts has fallen out of favor, streamlined silhouettes and shapes are in vogue. “Antique lockets were typically ornate, often with elaborate hand-engraved patterns. Contemporary lockets are usually simpler in design,” explains Elizabeth Doyle, co-owner of antique and vintage jewelry boutique Doyle & Doyle and a jewelry historian. Today’s quieter designs showcase the beauty of the materials and craftsmanship. Shop some of our favorites below.