ABCs of X-Mas Special

A locket from the '70s that unhinges to make room for six photos; from Alii Antiques in Kailua.

L is for locket

Something old, something new, something ... Oops, wrong occasion. But of the many gift items out there, lockets are among the most intimate, carrying with them the simple grace and history of bygone eras, plus expressions of love and togetherness, all in a compact piece of jewelry.

The basic locket shape of hearts and ovals hasn't changed much since Victorian times, when they were worn as mourning jewelry to keep the memories of loved ones close.

These days, you'll find smooth hearts in sterling and gold, ranging from a 14K gold heart for $285 or a small sterling silver heart for $180 at Tiffany. A large oval design by designer David Yurman sells for $425 at Neiman Marcus.

At Sears Ala Moana, you'll find 14K gold hearts decorated with hummingbirds and flowers for $239.99. (You may be able to find it on sale before Christmas at $120.) Another heart bears the word "Mom," surrounded by a floral scroll and studded with a .005-carat diamond, for $124.99.

For friends whose tastes run to vintage finds, lockets from the late '40s to '70s can be found at Alii Antiques of Kailua, for $22 to $75. Co-owner Linda Lee Hoy says the locket's last heyday was in the '40s, when soldiers heading off to World War II bought them for girlfriends and wives.

Not so dumb, those guys. Beyond being a gesture of love and sentiment, the lockets, often embellished with ivory or abalone, also bore the words "Sweetheart" or "Wife," as a warning to guys left behind that their wearers were taken!

More updated "lockets" do away with the cover as befitting these exhibitionist times. Why keep that cute boyfriend under wraps?

Cinnamon Girl offers picture-frame styles from about $50, to $84 for one that reads "Angel sent from heaven." Of course, there are those for whom pets are family, too, and similar jewelry (for people) can be found at Hawaii Doggie Bakery at Ward Warehouse.

The Star-Bulletin's countdown to Christmas continues daily, one letter at a time.

A sailor's locket from the '50s, from Alii Antiques.

A photo pendant for $50 at Hawaii Doggie Bakery.

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