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Victorian Tortoiseshell Heart Padlock


Tortoiseshell is a natural thermoplastic, which means it can be softened by the application of heat and then molded into various forms. Before the development of celluloid and other plastics, tortoiseshell was used to make jewelry molded in decorative or elaborate shapes. In the mid 1800s - when this incredible, dramatic, large scale heart padlock with a cleft face and smooth back was made - tortoiseshell was worn by bereaved women in the second stage of mourning, but it was also considered fashionable for wear anytime.


  • Materials

    18k gold (tests), tortoiseshell

  • Age

    c. 1860

  • Condition

    Very good - minor surface wear commensurate with age and use

  • Size

    1 7/8" x 1 1/4"

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please note:Terms of Sale

Antiques can be returned unworn and in original condition within 10 days of delivery for an exchange or refund minus the cost of shipping. Once a piece has been altered, including ring re-sizing, it is FINAL SALE.

RelatedHistory Lesson

HEARTS:The Symbol of Love

The double-clefted heart icon was born in the Middle Ages.