Victorian Gold Wyvern Locket
An outstanding antique oval locket featuring a pair of (near) identical Wyverns, a type of two legged dragon from the murky depths of English mythology and folklore. The beast comprises a venomous, serpentine, pointed tail, two wings (bird-like with feathers, in this case), and two legs, rather than the usual four as in the Welsh dragon. This one also has a double barbed, arrow-like tongue, feathered head, wide open mouth, and a little goatee beard not unlike an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. It's crafted in 14ct yellow gold with gorgeous, deep hand-carved engraving and an acetate glazed locket compartment within. Dating from the late Victorian period, circa 1890.
The winged snake features prominently in most ancient Mediterranean cultures, notably the Egyptian goddess Wadjet, but the oldest outright reference is to the beasts pulling Helios's sun chariot (winged dragons). The first reference to the Wyvern, in Britain, is in the 14th century Great Roll, from the French "wyvre" meaning "serpent", and the creature became associated with Wessex and the old Celtic kingdoms of Wales, the West Country, and the North West of England. By the 16th century, the Wyvern was distinguished from the dragon as a separate heraldic entity. They're often depicted like these two, with claws raised into the air resting their tails only. In mythology, wyverns are associated with viciousness, envy, and pestilence, but in heraldry, they symbolise the overthrowing of the tyranny of Satan and his demonic forces. Indeed, Christian traditions often depict dragon-like creatures protecting treasure - like a personal keepsake stored within a precious locket.
Era: Victorian, circa 1890
Size: 3.1cm by 2.3cm
Marks: Stamped 585 (14ct gold) and unknown maker's mark. Possibly Finnish.
Condition: Great antique condition with original interior fittings. Has been gilded with bright yellow gold, worn at the edges.
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Gemstones are tested by an accredited gemmologist (Cert GA, Gemmological Association of Great Britain)
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