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Art Nouveau Gold SwirlLocket


This locket's design is about as Art Nouveau as jewelry gets. Swirling, organic shapes make up the border, and the exterior is "bloomed". Blooming, a popular finishing technique for gold jewelry from 1870 to 1890, involved dipping a solid gold item into a boiling mixture of hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid), saltpeter (potassium nitrate), salt and water. This process burned off any alloys on the surface resulting in a thin layer of soft, pure gold on the outside. This thin gold skin is dotted by microscopic pits, creating a silky matte sheen. It's impossible to replicate this technique today, or rather it's not done by any jewelers, because the fumes involved in the process are extremely poisonous. No danger here, though, just soft peachy gold on a locket that seems to have never been worn - the interior frames and celluloid lenses are pristine.


  • Materials

    10k gold with "Bloomed" 18k gold exterior, new 14k gold chain

  • Age

    c. 1890

  • Size

    Round locket is 1" in diameter, chain is 18"

  • Condition


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RelatedHistory Lesson

Lockets:Magical, Medicinal, Memorial.

It’s hard to pinpoint when modern-day lockets were invented, but it’s believed that they evolved from ancient amulets.