Antique Plain Round Bloomed Gold-Shell Locket Necklace.
This antique locket is simple and without embellishment. The majority of lockets at this time, namely the latter half of 19th century (the end of the Victorian era), was produced with the presumed option to have them engraved with a monogram or date or inset with stones and/or engraved with popular Victorian friezes. Nevertheless, we have come across many that were left plain as this one is. As with almost all lockets from this time, there is room for two photographs, with the original inset photo frames intact.
The surface of this particular locket has a matte effect, called 'blooming' or 'bloomed gold'. Bloomed gold is achieved by bathing or dipping a gold surface in an acid that strips away only the very top layer of the alloy, leaving behind a surface that on the microscopic level is stippled or pitted, but to the naked eye and to the touch has a very subtle matte effect. Bloomed gold has a lovely way of catching the light, almost a romantic and subdued reflection in its surface, in contrast to gold's more well-known shiny, mirror finish.
A note about gold shell: This locket is marked for 1/4 Gold Shell, which means it isn't solid gold, rather 1/4 of its weight is gold. This means there is five times more gold than the more commonly seen 'Gold-Filled', where the gold is 1/20th the total weight of the piece, and therefore more value. While the thicknesses and amounts of gold differ, the process in which gold-fill and gold-shell is made is the same--sheets of gold are physically bonded (usually by rolling) on either side of a sheet of 'fill' metal (usually a jewelers' brass). The resulting sandwich is then shaped into the object desired.
MATERIALS: 12k Gold shell bonded to an under metal, most likely jewelers' brass.
HALLMARKS: 1/4 SHELL GOLD, SKM & Co., the maker's mark affiliated with S.K. Merrill & Company founded by Sylvester K. Merrill, and established between 1871(-1915 approx.) in Rhode Island.
CHAIN DETAILS: Ships on a new 20" long necklace: 2mm fancy long-short link chain in 14K Gold-fill.*
CHARM DIMENSIONS: Locket Diameter 1"(25mm) x 3/16" Deep (5mm). The top loop adds another 3mm to the height of the locket.
CONDITION: Very good. Closes well, some light visible abrasion to the surface.
*Other chain lengths and styles are available upon request.