An exquisite, antique, French vinaigrette locket that has us weak at the knees. This amazing piece is in pristine condition for being over 100 years old.
Vinaigrettes were often carried by fine women in the Victorian era. They contained a small, fragrance soaked, sponge or cloth, which was to be sniffed to keep the wearer from experiencing any unpleasant smells as they were out in town. There was a large disparity between classes in the Victorian era and the streets of London and France were plagued with poverty and disease, which was unsightly. Imagine the grandeur of carrying around your own personal gold scent on a chain. Today the vinaigrette could be used the same or could be used as a traditional locket, the choice is yours.
This wonderful example has a gorgeous, gold, floral design to both the front and back, highlighted by a background of matte black enamelling, which is in pristine condition on both front and back, something rarely seen and really striking to wear. Whilst there is no doubt the outside of the locket is stunning, there is no detail lost to the interior, with a hand pierced grid, which can be opened to allow you to insert your scent. The detailing on the scent holder is just phenomenal and you can see all the tool marks from it being hand tooled.
The piece is modelled in solid gold with hallmarks to both sides of the locket for 16ct gold, along with a makers mark we have not been able to trace. In addition to this the locket also has a small owl and swan stamped to its rim; these are French marks for re-hallmarking second-hand goods and are applied to both imported gold and silver. We believe that whilst the locket itself is solid gold, the grid to the interior may be gold plated over silver, this would likely have been as the design was so intricate it was easier to pierce the silver than to work with the harder gold. However, the silver has been pristinely plated for continuity.
This is a true collector’s item and nothing like we have ever seen before. Offered in pristine antique condition with only light surface wear and some internal scratches to the metal to note. The locket opens and closes securely, as does the internal grid. A beautiful piece.
Exceptional French Vinaigrette Locket
Metal: 16ct gold, hallmarked
Dimensions: 30 x 17.5mm