Photography (in Jewellery), Part 3

April 26, 2010

Old techniques, such as the silhouette, which were fast and cost effective, became quickly obsolete. Silhouettes in rings, pendants and lockets were popular in the early 19th century, but only began to fill a necessary void in a middle / lower class demographic demand. Miniature paintings, such as the eye portrait were treasured for their personalised nature and that they could be worn close to the person without making a display of the jewellery. The photograph in jewellery took these precedents and built upon the desire in the market for cost effective and accurate memorial pieces.

Often, hairwork was outsourced and the provided hair wasn’t that of the loved one at all in a piece of jewellery, with a photograph, the wearer could guarantee its authenticity and hold it as dear as an eye portrait could ever have been. Lockets especially were highly in demand because of this, causing wide variation in the styles of lockets available. Lockets were produced that could hold up to as many as eight photographs and ingenious techniques of construction aided this process.

Hairwork was often placed opposite the photograph of a loved one inside a locket, keeping the hair and the face always next to the heart. Not only used for mourning, these pieces were strongly sentimental, given to a loved one (either family or after a formal declaration of marriage), when a partner was away from the other for some time. Because the locket could be reused over time, pieces that may have been dedicated to hairwork have since been replaced with photographs, often in a short period of time. Demand and necessity (such as the placement of smaller photgraphs) led to different styles of locket or brooch (many of which can be seen in the Lockets and Pendants or Brooches sections). The locket is one of the strongest surviving pieces of mourning jewellery, many other forms of jewellery with photography (apart from brooches) are contradictions to the rule, but lockets still are used today. Bold lockets with ‘in memory of’ or other mourning sentiment are still marketable pieces for sellers who take out the previous owner’s memento and start the piece anew.

Lockets as sentimental gifts (old and new) are also incredibly popular, with people giving photographs inside lockets as a common practice. The photograph has made sentimentality in jewellery a greatly personal enterprise, both fuelling the other’s necessity.

Further Reading:

> Photography in Jewellery Part 1
> Photography in Jewellery Part 2
> Photography in Jewellery Part 3
> Photography in Jewellery Part 4
> Photography in Jewellery Part 5
> Photography in Jewellery Part 6
> Photography in Jewellery Part 7

3 Responses to “Photography (in Jewellery), Part 3”


  1. […] in Jewellery Part 1 Photography in Jewellery Part 2 Photography in Jewellery Part 3 Photography in Jewellery Part 4 Photography in Jewellery Part 5 Photography in Jewellery Part 6 […]


  2. […] Photography in Jewellery Part 1 > Photography in Jewellery Part 2 > Photography in Jewellery Part 3 > Photography in Jewellery Part 4 > Photography in Jewellery Part 5 > Photography in […]


  3. […] Photography in Jewellery Part 1 > Photography in Jewellery Part 2 > Photography in Jewellery Part 3 > Photography in Jewellery Part 4 > Photography in Jewellery Part 5 > Photography in […]


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