On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706

The earliest jewelry made and owned in America was of a sentimental nature, related either to courtship and marriage or to death and mourning. In this heart-shaped locket, a faceted crystal was secured to the gold back by a crimped, scalloped edge. Beneath the glass, a tightly woven plait of light brown hair, a common addition to mourning jewelry, was laid onto a silk background. An engraved skull appears on the reverse, along with the death date of the deceased, whose identity remains unknown.

Locket, Gold, hair, and crystal, American

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