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Victorian Hawthorn & Swallow Enamel Locket & Collar

Victorian Hawthorn & Swallow Enamel Locket & Collar



DATE: Victorian, c.1880

The hawthorn is entwined in the English mythos stretching back many millennia - primarily associated, in secular realms at least, with beauty, strength, and protection, the latter as a result of its medicinal properties. Also known as the May Tree, Mayflower, White May, or simply The May. Its roots are embedded in Celtic tales, Arthurian legends, and Christian symbolism alike. In the Pagan tradition, the hawthorn was a fertility symbol, representing youth and sexuality, and most often associated with the Beltaine festival marking the mid-point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Of it Chaucer wrote:

"Mark the fair blooming of the Hawthorn Tree,

Who, finely clothed in a robe of white,

Fills the wanton eye with May's delight."

It is said that the wood from which Christ's crown of thorns was made was hawthorn, and (presumably as a direct response to its Pagan connotations) the Catholic church associated the white blossoms with chastity and the Virgin Mary. The Glastonbury Thorn is said to have grown from the staff of Joseph or Arimathea which took root when he brought Christianity to Britain; unusually, it flowers both in May and during Christmas.

This remarkable Victorian locket features a spray of hawthorn flowers and leaves, beautifully rendered in enamel on silver, as well as a swallow in flight. We've paired it with a period collar featuring open-work links with beadwork and ivy leaf motifs - adding further to the romantic sentiments of the locket.


Locket: 6.3 x 3.4cm (including bail)

Wearable length: 16.5 inches

Collar links: 18.7 x 7.4mm




No marks present, tests as sterling silver


Very good, a couple of light dings to the back of the locket


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