n outstanding Victorian 18K yellow gold oval slide locket, the cover with set with an amazing sardonyx cameo depicting an early steamship also rigged with sails. The single smoke funnel, the sails’ rigging and the absence of a sidewheel suggest the locket dates to the mid-19th century. The carving is expertly worked using the alternating cream and rust colors of the sardonyx to represent every small detail. The marshy foreground is littered with barrels, crates and a large anchor. The hardstone is surrounded by a Greek key pattern carved into the gold. This pattern is repeated on the back cover surrounding an oval or engine-turned engraving. The locket opens by sliding sideways from a pivot at the top. Lockets were used, of course, to hold pictures, locks of hair or other sentimental remembrances. Most likely, a locket with this kind of decoration would have been worn by a ship captain’s wife (the only sailor’s wife likely to have enough money to purchase an expensive locket of this size and quality).
Ca. 1845. Condition: excellent, no damage to carving, 2 pinpoint dings on the back cover, original frames remaining in interior, no monogram. Tested and guaranteed 18K. Size: 1-3/16” x 1-11/16” (excluding jump ring). Weight: 15.9 grams.