This 18k gold medallion locket features Joan of Arc in an emblematic pose, bravely carrying a flag as she heads into battle. Canonized as a saint in 1920, nearly 500 years after her death, here she is depicted wearing a diamond halo. The quality of the medallion’s bas relief is crisp, beautifully rendered by a skilled metalist. The sliding locket has been made with precision— it opens smoothly and closes shut with a locking device that doubles as a decorative element. The back of the locket is concave, allowing the thumb to fit comfortably on the locket in order to push it open or closed.
Joan of Arc is considered a symbol of France, as well as a patron saint and martyr. At the age of 17, she became a leader in the French army after receiving visions from the Archangel Michael, St. Margaret, and St. Catherine. In 1430, she was captured by Burgundian troops, led by French nobles who were allied with the English. She was declared guilty of heresy and was burned at the stake, dying at age 19. In 1456, Pope Callixtus III pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr. She became a symbol of the Catholic League in the 16th century, and a symbol of France in the early 1800’s. In 1909 she was beatified and in 1920, canonized. Her story continues to capture hearts and imaginations, and she remains a popular figure in art and literature.
The inside of the locket fits two small pictures. There is writing faintly etched into the gold—perhaps the signature of the maker or the name of the original owner—but the words are undecipherable. Both pieces of the locket are also marked with “10”, perhaps a model number. There are no hallmarks found on the piece, but on the front of the medallion, the letters “LBcia” can be found in the lower right hand corner as a signature of the maker.
The locket is just over 3/4” in diameter. Its oblong bail, which seems to be original to the piece, is 6 x 7mm. The piece weighs 8.15 grams. The seven diamonds in Joan of Arc’s halo are rose cut, beautifully bead set into the 18k gold. Circa 1915.