The opening of trade relations with Japan in 1853 had a heavy influence on Victorian jewelry. Fashion and accessories brought back from travelers led to imitations and artistic influences during the Grand Period (1861 – 1885). This increased exposure to Japanese craftsmanship gave way to this “Japonaise” style which was incorporated into all aspects of art, fashion, architecture, and design with stylized fans, cattail weeds, dragons, insects, bamboo, etc. Silver jewelry boomed in Birmingham, England during this same time, particularly with novelty themed jewelry, just like this beautiful locket.
This antique Victorian REGARD locket with its Japanese inspired motif was handcrafted around 1880. It features a motif of a robed man sitting next to bamboo growing tall, with the word, “Regard” engraved in the upper right-hand corner. The inside reveals two covered frames lined in blue fabric, just perfect for two photographs. Overall, this locket measures 59.7 x 29.5 x 8.8 mm and weighs 23.6 grams. It has been professionally acid tested.
Regard was a common motif found in Victorian jewelry, as it was meant as a shortened version of the phrase “with my regards”, as though it was at the end of a long love letter, or “I highly regard you”, meaning someone holds you dearly to their heart.
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