Extremely well-crafted diminutive lockets were a feature of Regency (Late Georgian) fashion, as were enamelwork, neo-classical patterns and plumes. All these design currents combine here, where a finely enameled Greek Key border surrounds an engraved peacock feather and eye motif at center. (The peacock was not only fashionable on headgear then, but also a symbol of eternal life.)
A very early dating is further indicated by the plain window of beveled crystal on the reverse, through which we glimpse black fabric or very tightly woven hair held by a gilt retaining band of rope-twist design. I see no way to open this without popping up the glass (which seems to have incurred a teensy chip from exactly that process). Later lockets, as we know, have separate metal compartments that open to view enclosures. From later examples, we'd also expect hallmarks on any piece that required so much intricate craftsmanship, whereas there's no stamp of any sort on this silver. It looks like sterling, but may be a somewhat lesser European grade. An interesting mystery is the presence of a small incised line on the front that isn't part of the design, but looks intentional. Perhaps it was meant as a mark of grief, detracting from perfection. Occasionally I get vibes off a piece of jewelry and this one is loaded with heart-felt emotion. I feel it was first worn as a memorial jewel either by the person who made it or someone else of the same family.
Measuring a dainty 1 inch by 1/2 inch, this rare beauty is in splendid condition, relative to age, and its provenance is a Florida estate. It was probably meant to be on a ribbon slide tied at choker length and would look lovely on a black silk ribbon or cord. It comes with this dainty vintage chain, silver in color but unmarked.
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