19th century “faith, hope and love” locket remembrance ring


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Locket ring, 18 karat gold, made late 19th century / early 20th century.

Top is decorated the form of faith, hope and charity/love with a hidden compartment underneath, enamel a bit worn by loving use.

Weight approx. 2.6 grams,
size approx. 18.5/58 US 8,5.

Faith, Hope and love / charity

The three symbols that capture the essence of life – work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope.
The allegory of faith, hope and charity are important symbols of the early modern period, becoming prominent from the late 18th century and still utilized today in jewels.

The cross for faith, anchor for hope and the heart for love or charity. All hinge on the trustworthiness of the person or object of an individual’s core belief.
The heart and cross might speak for themselves, but the anchor as a metaphor for “hope” might need some explaining. During the Napoleonic Wars, it became a relevant popular symbol at a time when seafaring meant that return of a loved one was uncertain. Essentially, it meant “come back safely to me”, not necessarily by ship, but in general. Hope is fundamental to the principals of what it is to believe in a better future.

There is also the allusion to the holy trinity with the faith, hope and charity symbols.
By the second half of the 19th century, the symbols had become standard and common charms to wear both by men and women. Typically, these motifs were used and given in charms or jewelry as a token of one’s love and remembrance.

As attributed to the Apostle Paul, this quote from 1 Corinthians 13 shows the genesis of faith, hope and charity:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”