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Home / 2023 - 2024 Catalogue / Rare antique pique locket from the Victorian era

Rare antique pique locket from the Victorian era

Here is an antique locket that is both so beautiful and unique and just as rare and destined to always be cherished and admired each and every time that it is worn.

Pique jewellery is unlike anything else, and click here to read a brief article on pique jewellery: https://www.kalmarantiques.com.au/articles/history-of-pique-jewellery/

This pique locket dates from the 1880's, and measures an astonishing 45mm across by 65mm or 81.5mm to the top of the bail for a chain to pass through. The size alone makes it very rare, and with a gorgeous rounded top to it that is both still in superb condition and so tactile to touch, this is one piece that will be admired from near or far.

With such an elegant star pattern repeated along the top, and a gorgeous border around it, turning it over reveals a locket compartment of the reverse to make this so much more special and personal once a photo is placed inside.

This is truly such a unique and exciting piece of pique jewellery that is unlike anything else.


Stock# ET863

Circa: 1880



Rare antique pique locket from the Victorian era

What is pique jewellery?

A brief history on pique jewellery:

Pique jewellery is a style and type of jewellery all unto itself. It is one that cannot be reproduced today and is so unique and spectacular. Made most popular during the Victorian era, it can be found as far back as the 18th Century and was popular throughout most parts of Europe but mostly in Italy and England.

Pique (pronounced pee-kay) is gold or silver, or sometimes a combination of both, inlayed into another material. Quite often the material was tortoiseshell (from the Hawksbill tortoise which was also used for the making of other tortoiseshell material such as boxes etc) and sometimes even from elephant ivory.

The tortoiseshell seemed to be the most popular. this was probably because of its light weight and being easy to mould into other shapes. Tortoiseshell is a natural thermoplastic , meaning that it is quite malleable when heated/warmed. Very fine gold or silver would be fashioned into either fine rod or leaf designs. These were then pressed into the already warmed tortoiseshell. After the gold and silver was set, the shell was left to cool down which would then contract to hold the metal in place.

Prior to 1870, the metals were cut by hand allowing for very fine and intricate detail then after 1870, machines started to do the work resulting in more straight and angular designs. The attention to detail no matter the age is always something that never ceases to amaze people. More so when you consider that these pieces were often made well over 140 years ago and still look superb today.

Pique jewellery can most commonly be found in earrings and pendants, and the designs and colouring are amazing to admire.

This form of jewellery making is now a lost art as both the elephant and Hawksbill turtle are protected species. This of course means that pique jewellery will become harder and harder to find as the years go by.


Click here to see more antique pique jewellery that is currently in store:


Click here to see a small selection of more antique lockets that are currently in store:


Pique jewellery is unlike anything else, and click here to read a brief article on pique jewellery: https://www.kalmarantiques.com.au/articles/history-of-pique-jewellery/

A link to the beautiful V and A Museum in London:


Kalmar Antiques 2022 - 2023 Annual Catalogue

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