A recent exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Art highlighting the Virginia native’s vast personal collection of antique jewelry exposes Locke as a connoisseur in the field. Consisting primarily of Italian micromosaics – an ancient form of mosaic art made with miniscule pieces of enameled glass called tesserae – the imagery of deities and once intact ruins are obvious influences to Locke’s current body of work. Locke uses her antique findings as muses to create her own jewelry, stemming from classical motifs and reinvented with a modern twist.
From the warmth of high karat gold to the luster of semi-precious stones, Elizabeth Locke captures the essence of antiquity. Techniques such as a hammered gold finish, beaded gold wire, or intaglio – Italian for engraving – are highly reminiscent of Roman and Etruscan jewelry. While sapphires, rubies, and emeralds were extreme rarities in early civilization, peridots, quartz, and even colored glass were often used. Most gemstones and glass during the Iron Age was fashioned into cabochons or carved, as the techology for modern day faceting had not been developed. Even Locke’s attention to detail in regard to the types of gemstones she incorporates in each piece, and their cuts, aids in the old world illusion.
The elegance of Elizabeth Locke’s jewelry is second nature to the designer as she creates from her heart something to wear on one’s sleeve. This fall, Freeman’s is delighted to offer a large collection of Elizabeth Locke pieces, all from the collection of a Philadelphia Lady, in the November 5th Fine Jewelry sale. Highlights include a pair of eighteen karat gold, peridot, and pink tourmaline earrings (estimate: $1,000-1,500), a pair of nineteen karat gold and blue topaz earrings (estimate: $1,000-1,500), a pair of nineteen karat gold and pink tourmaline earrings (estimate: $700-900), and an eighteen karat gold toggle bracelet (estimate: $3,000-5,000).