From Y2K designs to ’80s heavyweight gold, nostalgic jewelry trends continue to rule. But lately, lockets are the vintage-inspired jewelry trend on the rise, going beyond traditional oval and heart-shaped designs in silver or gold. Instead, revived interpretations lead the pack for modern appeal, from enamel, diamond, and gemstone-accented styles to irregular shapes and uniquely detailed versions hanging from trendy chains.
Like antique furniture and second-hand clothing, nostalgic and vintage jewelry pieces retain a sense of character and allure that feels rare, sometimes even dignified. Such adornments are an accessory lover’s go-to for distinctive style, particularly when the goal is a one-of-a-kind look, including engagement rings. And because trends continuously cycle through the decades, coming back in various waves suiting the current moment, there’s always a nuanced approach in one regard or another, like lockets, for a fresh feel.
“Lockets have been around for hundreds of years but gained popularity during the Victorian Age, where they were used to hold a lock of hair or photo as a sentimental and loving memento,” explains Zahava Ryzman, founder and creative director of Sarah Chloe. “Their popularity during this period cemented the locket with the vintage aesthetic it’s known for,” she says. Adding, “They’ve recently made a resurgence due to their inherent sentimental and personal nature,” which is in line with the trend of wearing jewelry with more profound significance.
“Modern lockets truly allow for an updated take on a vintage design,” Ryzman continues. “Ours always reference the traditional vintage locket but have a spin,” including diamond accents, larger proportions, and sleek font options, all with a minimalist bent. “It’s a nod to the history of the locket with a fresh take making it an updated classic.”
Jewelry designer and photographer Monica Rich Kosann has long been enchanted with vintage lockets, telling TZR how the necklace’s history drew her to the piece, including the way people would wear several at once during Queen Victoria’s reign. “I loved the stories all these pieces told and would collect them along with vintage cigarette cases and compacts,” she shares. “To me, lockets are the sexiest piece of jewelry a woman can wear.” Adding, “It’s a secret message holder,” containing inspirations, loves, aspirations, and celebrations.
This deep interest guided the contemporary versions found in Rich Kosann’s collection, including sterling silver, 18-karat gold, and colored enamel vermeil lockets, as well as versions with diamonds, sapphires, and gemstones. The designer also creates lockets to hold four or six images to carry many stories through a Locket Bar.
For Ryzman, timelessness and personalization are two core elements of her brand, leading to an assortment of classically shaped lockets and a personalized locket collection in various proportions to wear layered and solo. The latter includes engraving options from traditional script monograms to gothic initials, modern block fonts, and diamond accents. Plus, a range of chain options, including cable, bead, paperclip, and satellite styles. “It was very important to us that the collection allows the wearer to customize and personalize their locket,” Ryzman shares. “The variations allow [each locket] to be bespoke.”
As for styling lockets with modern flare, Rich Kosann suggests wearing them like any other piece of jewelry — layered. “I have a 360-degree rule — lockets and all jewelry move, so it must look beautiful from all angles,” the designer explains. “I wear mine mixed in with all my other pieces.”
Championing their versatility, Ryzman says lockets look great worn both solo and layered with other necklaces. “We especially love smaller lockets worn on a short 18” chain, with another dainty 15” chain nestled in the collarbone,” she tells TZR. “Larger lockets look great worn on a long 36” paperclip chain with other heavier necklaces for a statement look.”
Keep scrolling for an edit of modern lockets to add a touch of nostalgia to your next look.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Ultra-sleek, oversize, and unique shapes put a fresh spin on yellow-gold lockets. This style is ideal for layering with other favorite jewelry options.
Look to enamel lockets for a luxe pop of color. The sophisticated feel of this locket option makes it particularly well suited to dressed-up events, like a wedding or black-tie party.
Referencing the Victorian era, shaker lockets with charms are personality-packed. If you’re partial to playful dressing, this is the locket iteration that’s right for you.
From resin designs to charm accents and colored stones, these playful lockets capture Y2K nostalgia. Don’t be afraid to fully lean in and add a picture of your childhood crush inside.
Diamond lockets are particularly luxurious, whether accented with a single stone or adorned with many. Consider storing pictures of something precious inside.
The celestial jewelry trend is all but slowing down, making a locket essential in any star-crossed collection. For those who swear by their Zodiac sign, it’s a simple way to get personal.
Precious gemstones and minerals are a bolder approach to lavish lockets. Don’t be afraid to embrace your go-to hue in jewelry form.
Venture away from classic hearts and ovals with uniquely shaped lockets, like a shield, teardrop, or hexagon style.
Charm necklaces, modern chains, and etched trim refresh the feel of timeless heart-shaped lockets. Unsurprisingly, this iteration also makes for a great gift.
Modern detailing from diamond accents to croissant shapes breathes new life into classic oval lockets.