Unlock Suzanne’s Advice:
THE SECRET IS IN THE HINGE. Early lockets do not have a large, external hinge, whereas mass-produced contemporary lockets will. “You start to see the external hinge in the 1950s and beyond,” says Suzanne. “So if you are at a flea market and find a piece you like, and see the hinge is invisible, you can tell that the locket is over 100 years old. And I would buy it! If the price is reasonable. They are getting harder to find.”
LEARN HOW THEY OPEN. It can be confusing, so find the hinge, and on the opposite side there will be a little divet or opening. Open from that ridge. “If a fingernail doesn’t do it, I use the screwdriver from an eyeglasses kit; it’s exactly the right size,” says Suzanne. Inside, there is usually a frame to hold a photo, “Most of the ones we sell have the original frame, and you can also use the screwdriver to pop that out. If it’s missing, just use a little double-sided tape to hold in the photo.”
CARE IS SIMPLE. They are made with gold fill, not gold plate, so the gold doesn’t wear off. “It looks exactly as it did 100 years ago. And it will look like that in 100 years,” says Suzanne, who advises using a soft cloth to buff it. “Or a toothbrush, and a little dish soap and a little water. It’s not uncommon to find it is a little dirty inside.”
DON’T WORRY ABOUT A MISSING STONE. The stones are usually Victorian paste, similar to a modern Swarovski crystal, so you can replace one stone without changing the look or having it clash with the other stones.
LAYER PHOTOS. “A locket feels so special because it comes with its own history,” Suzanne notes. If you’re lucky enough to find a locket with a photo inside, place your chosen picture on top instead of tossing out the older image.