Victorian Enamelled "Undine" Mermaid Locket
DATE: Victorian, c.1880
Undines are kind of water-based elementary being, first described by the Swiss philosopher (and alchemist!) Paracelsus. He depicted them as being female, and usually found in forest pool and waterfalls. The story goes that the undines resemble humans in form, but lack a human soul - so to gain immortality they must acquire one by marrying a human man. There are supposedly many types of this water creature, but the most famous one in today's culture is the mermaid.
The locket is modelled in 18k yellow gold, with beautiful blue, white, and red enamelled detail - a good size at 4.6cm in length. I can imagine the wearer would have given this to his sweetheart as a kind of tongue-in-cheek gesture: "You only married me for my Soul!"
4.6 x 2.8 x 0.7mm
No marks present, tests as 18k gold
Excellent, with light antique patina