|Oval pendant in gold surrounded by seed pearls. Circa 1830|
How romantic. Or something. In mid-18th century, Britain's King George IV (then Prince of Wales) wooed a Catholic commoner, a widow to boot by sending his reluctant suitor a mini-portrait of his eye.
How it Started
Trend ensued. Lover's Eye Jewelry became quite the rage for a long time. The sentimental prince's gesture spawned eye portraits on toothpick cases (not so romantic in my humble) brooches, lockets and rings.
Why this odd token of love, you ask? The eye might be recognized only to the object of her/his affection, it was thought. Thus clandestine lovers swooned over these private treasures.
Lover's Eye Pendant Courtesy Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA