Kirsten's Corner

14K Gold Envelope Shaped Mourning Locket with Arrow


A love letter to a departed soul, this tender piece manifests as an envelope that folds over a pearl studded arrow and is sealed with a forget-me-not flower. Circa 1870, this early Victorian brooch is cast in 14k gold with a beautiful acid wash matte finish. The forget-me-not, a sentimental image often seen in mourning jewelry, consists of a chrysoberyl cat’s eye surrounded by six old cut diamonds bead set into its petals. The whimsical arrow is encrusted with eight pearls that look beautiful against the matte gold. On the back of the brooch, a portrait of a woman is held in an oval frame. She has braided hair, wears beautiful jewelry, and was clearly very loved by the brooch’s original owner. 

The blue-grey cat’s eye has lovely chatoyancy that shimmers as it moves, making the piece even more magical. Chatoyancy is an optical phenomenon seen in certain stones, caused by light reflecting off of parallel needle-like elements within the stone, this is the cat’s eye effect.  In addition, the chrysoberyl has a trait known as adularesence—a milky sheen or glowing light that seems to come from below the surface of the stone. The effect is caused by layers of orthoclase and albite that reflect and scatter light. 

The brooch measures 2” x 3/4” and weighs 10 grams. The chrysoberyl measures 3.25 mm. The six natural old cut diamonds measure 2.25 and equal .15 of a carat. The natural pearls range in size 2.75 - 1 mm. The piece is unmarked but acid tests as 14k gold. 

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