Luna & Stella: designing future memories and combining them with lockets of the past
“What you hold in your locket speaks to your memories, sentiments and the loved ones you keep close to your heart,” says Suzanne Ellis Wernevi of Luna & Stella, a fine jewelry collection Wernevi founded in 2008. The collection is unique in that it combines authentic antique lockets with modern talismans and charms that reinterpret Victorian motifs. “The combination of the contemporary pieces and the patina and personality of the aged lockets opens up a dialogue between old and new,” she says.
A passionate antique jewelry collector herself, Wernevi’s original intent was to design new lockets inspired by Victorian pieces. After much research and scouting out antique markets throughout the country, Wernevi realized ”modern tooling and techniques could never match the beauty and intricacy of the antique lockets I had been collecting. In addition to the variety of different patterns on the front and back of the lockets of the past, the chasing or symbols that were accented with enamel, diamonds or other small colored gemstones, the hinges on the lockets from the mid 1800s to the 1920s were all handmade and almost invisible, totally integrated within the same piece,” Wernevi explains.
“With the development of mass-produced jewelry, the handmade hinges were replaced with the external hinges you see on contemporary lockets. The cost to replicate tooling for these amazing elements and details, and the variety of sizes, shapes and motifs would be prohibitive today.”
Wernevi’s modern pieces reveal significance in that they incorporate birthstones and other personalized details, depending on her clients’ desires and the type of pieces to which they are drawn. She explains, “I am always excited to see that our customers mix up the past and the present and to see that they love the antique lockets as much as we do. They are taken by the hand-engraved artisan quality and they see each one of the lockets as a small treasure and a work of art.”
“Searching for pieces that are of varying shapes –ovals, rounds, rectangles or in the shape of books and/or flowers—takes a lot of hunting at fairs and flea markets in country towns and cities, but it’s truly worth it once I find them. They are significant keepsakes where women can keep their mementos housed in a beautiful and meaningful piece.”
Wernevi loves finding lockets with the original photos inside.
“It is a glimpse into another time and place. I wonder about the people in the photos – were they the woman’s parents? husband? children? sister or close friend? Whoever they were, they were a part of the wearer’s life and I think it is so special that those memories have been preserved in some way, over 100 years later. When the new owner puts in her own photos, sometimes over the old pictures, the locket takes on a new life and new meaning as it is passed along to each new caretaker.”
If you are a purist, Wernevi suggests mixing different shapes, sizes, and motifs on one antique chain for a true statement in lockets. “Finding your first locket in your grandmother’s jewelry box—already comes with its own story—but adding your style, vibe and way you want to wear it is what it’s all about today.”
In collaboration with Luna & Stella
all lockets in this story are gold filled and from the Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. Luna & Stella also features 9K, 14K and 18K