A 16th Century Gold Locket from the Scottish Renaissance, CC BY National Museums Scotland
This beautiful and colourful locket makes our modern day jewellery look rather plain. Its intricate detailing shows the skill of the Scottish craftsman who made it.
If you hover your mouse over the image you'll be able to look really closely at all the detail. We are actually looking at the back of the locket here, on the front there is a large red jewel, probably a Garnet which are thought to have healing properties.
In the centre of the oval you can see the god Mercury, he is the god of messengers, poets, merchants and travellers. Surrounding him is a beautifully elaborate scene with a white dog possibly to symbolise fidelity (faith in someone or something), and a vase of flowers including wild roses and violets.
This locket was recently acquired by the National Museums Scotland and lots of people have been very excited about it. Although we don't know everything for certain yet it was probably given as a gift within the Scottish court. Researchers at the museum are also currently investigating a possible royal connection.
You can see more images of the locket and a similar jewel on the National Museums Scotland website.
Things to think about:
- Can you think of any other pieces of jewellery that are this intricate?
- Who do you think might have worn this locket? Can you draw a picture of them?
- Why might someone have given this as a gift?
This locket is from the Scottish Renaissance period and would make a great illustration to a lesson about Scotland's past.
The National Museum Scotland has loads of great resources on the history of Scotland.
- The Fettercairn Jewel. A 16th-century gold locket with a garnet surrounded by cloisonne enamel on the front and an image of the god Mercury in basse taille enamel on the reverse. The locket opens but is plain inside.
- This beautiful and colourful locket makes our modern day jewellery look rather plain. Its intricate detailing shows the skill of the Scottish craftsman who made it.