Fashion - Oval Locket

The 19th century was a time of great change in women's fashion. The century began with high waistlines and straight skirts, and by the 1850s, the style had evolved into a more natural waistline and full skirt. Adelicia Acklen's clothing choices showcase the most fashionable trends from Europe and North America during that time. Follow Belmont Mansion as we embark on a nine part series showcasing the dresses, jewelry, and fashion choices of Adelicia Acklen.

Lockets were an essential piece to any woman’s collection, especially in the second half of the nineteenth century. Sentimental lockets like this one, holding a lock of hair from Adelicia, would have been considered a classic piece. The exchange of locks of hair was a custom that was practiced to commemorate loved ones for both celebration and as an act of mourning. It stemmed from the practice from the late medieval period of wearing mourning rings, which was revived and expanded upon in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and eventually included adding locks of hair in jewelry in the nineteenth century. Victorians often revived and even reshaped the concepts of medieval customs and chivalry which so appealed to their romantic tendency. The Order of the Garter emblem on the front once more reflects the fascination Victorians had with British Royalty and chivalry. This locket most likely belonged to Pauline because her name is engraved on the back and because the lock of hair belonging to Adelicia.[1]


[1] Deirdre O’Day, Victorian Jewellery rev. ed. (London: Charles Letts Books Limited, 1982): 36-37, 64.

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Belmont Blvd & Acklen Avenue 

Nashville, TN 37212


1900 Belmont Blvd

Nashville, TN 37212


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The architecture of Belmont Mansion makes it one of the most significant homes of 19th century Tennessee.

Sold by the Acklen family in 1887, the house went to a developer who began one of Nashville’s early suburbs.

It was then purchased by two women who in 1890 started a college which evolved into Belmont University. Today the Belmont Mansion Association, which was formed in 1972, owns the collection, runs the museum, and shares this unique story of 19th century Nashville with visitors from far and near.

Photos by Ed Houk