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.
This heart locket with cubic zirconia star center will add a feminine touch to your look.
Pair this locket-inspired necklace with shorter gold chains for a cool layered look.
This round locket has a delicate gold vermeil chain that will add a slight shimmer to your look.
Make a print of your horoscope and slip it into this astrologically-inspired gold and diamond locket. Susan Miller would be proud.
Inspired by filigree sculptures from the Akan heritage, there's nothing else like this gorgeous geometrical locket on the market.
Try this heart-shaped locket from Ben Amun for a style that comes in under $100.
The perforated pattern on this necklace is designed so that you can add a fragrance to the locket that will last all day.
Lovingly referred to as the "boob locket," 30 percent of proceeds from this necklace are donated to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The lattice pattern and braided motif on this vintage style make this locket super unique.
Adorned with pavé diamond dragonflies, there is plenty of room for an inscription in this gorgeous piece.
With hanging pear-shaped diamonds, this cloud locket will be one of your most standout pieces.
This antique-inspired, Victorian oval locket is perfect for engraving your or a loved one's initials. Take it a step further and add a special hand-engraved message inside.