Antique, Gold-Filled Locket Necklace, with paste-set horseshoe.
We are enamored with horseshoes...you may have noticed if you have spent any time in our shop or social media pages...Among the most powerful and age-old of icons, the horseshoe represents among other things luck, independence of spirit and physical might.
The surface of this locket is a subtle matte finish known as 'bloomed gold', a 19th century process wherein the gold surface is treated to an acid bath which gently eats away the alloy in the gold and leaves an extremely fine stippling on the surface which gives the metal a matte effect. The back of the locket features a hand engraved, interlocking script monogram, 'ERM' or 'EMR', depending on how you interpret the order of the letters.
The locket opens top to bottom and there is room for two photographs inside, with both of the original inset photo frames, 1 celluloid photo protector and 1 original sample paper intact.
The engraving on one of the inset frames indicates that this locket was made by B and B Company.
A note about the metal~
This locket is 'Gold-Filled'. This means the surfaces are gold, but the center of the metal is not. The minimum gold content is 1/20th the total weight of the piece. Gold-filled is made when two sheets of gold are physically bonded (usually pressed together by rollers) on either side of a sheet of 'fill' metal (usually a jewelers' brass). The resulting sandwich is then shaped into the object desired.
A note about Paste~
Pastes are considered the precursor to modern-day rhinestones. Depending on the period and location, 'paste' was made from different materials, but for the ones here and in much of the Victorian period, paste was a handmade crystal meant to offer the customer a less expensive version of diamonds. Paste qualities vary widely because each batch would have been a proprietary blend made by an individual jeweler or manufacturer using various proportions of lead in a glass matrix. The addition of lead adds a smoothness and an ability to refract light that glass alone cannot offer. The stones were hand cut according to the old diamond cuts of the time and hand polished and foiled on the underside to reflect light, and in their days of glory sparkled like diamonds.
The industrial and engineering advances of the late 19th century lead to new machinery being invented for the cutting of stones, allowing for less expensive, mass production of what we would now consider 'rhinestones'. While mass-produced rhinestones have aesthetic limitations, the beauty of pastes is that the best quality pastes could fool the eye of the beholder entirely because they are such good imitations of diamonds, and even today some still do.
MATERIALS: 10-12k gold-fill, paste crystal.
HALLMARKS: B and B
CHAIN DETAILS: Ships on a new 1.5mm 14k gold-filled cable chain necklace at 16-18-20-24" length.
CHARM DIMENSIONS: Locket Diameter 1 1/4"(3mm) x 3/16" Deep (5mm). The top loop and bail add another 8mm to the height of the locket.
CONDITION: Excellent. Closes well, almost no abrasion to the surface. No dents. Pastes vary from bright white to pale grey.