A Rare Mourning Locket and Chain in Gutta Percha c1875
So few pieces of gutta percha jewelry have not been destroyed, lost or thrown out, it is very exciting to find a significant piece beautifully intact. This wonderful locket shows birds nesting in reeds, an iconic vignette from the Aesthetic Period. The locket is attached to a 26” gutta percha large-link chain. An exquisite, distinguished piece of mourning jewelry from America's Post Civil War period. The locket is 2”T. All is in remarkably fine condition. USA shipping, handling and insurance is on us.
NOTE OF INTEREST: It is a fact that few people realize gutta percha was used to make jewelry. People think of it as being made into cases for tintypes, or pistol handles or insulation for telegraph wires, early on. But during the mid-Victorian period, from the late 1840s on to the latter years of the Victorian era, gutta percha was used to make mourning jewelry. It was plain and dark and therefore gave a suitable appearance for those in mourning. And it could be easily molded into beads or other shapes for jewelry designers. Gutta percha was quickly displaced when Bakelite was discovered. Because the gutta percha jewelry was not made of precious metals and gemstones, it was neither cherished nor protected by families. Today, because of its innate beauty, its symbolic representations and its scarcity, it is prized by collectors of period mourning jewelry.