What Goes in a Locket?

Three round, rectangle and square gold lockets with gemstones and enamel.

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Lockets are sentimental jewelry pieces that help us keep our most cherished memories close. This jewelry features a hinged pendant, typically set on necklace chains, that can be opened. A locket usually has recessed interior walls that make it easy to place photos or other small keepsakes within the jewelry. They can be heart-shaped, oval-shaped or other shapes. 

If you have a locket in your jewelry collection or want to give one as a gift, you may wonder how to choose what goes in this jewelry. 

Photos are the most popular thing to put in lockets, but there are other items that can also fit in these meaningful necklaces. You can also put paper items like cutouts of event or travel tickets, notes from a loved one, a printout of your loved one’s handprints, pieces of your children’s drawings, important quotes or pieces of fabric from important memories.

Petite Two-Tone Chevron Locket In Sterling Silver And 18k Yellow Gold

You can make the most of your locket by putting items that have the most personal meaning for you (or your gift recipient if you’re giving a locket as a wedding anniversary gift) in this customizable jewelry. You wear your locket close to your heart, so it’s important to put whichever items mean the most to you in the pendant. 

Popular Items for Lockets

Gold heart-shaped locket. 

The history of lockets stretches back centuries, with today’s contemporary styles reflecting the vintage jewelry that inspired current designs. In centuries past, early versions of lockets held everything from perfume-soaked fabrics to delicately braided hair from loved ones. 

Today, photos are the most popular items to put in lockets. But there are other options for what to put in your locket, including: 

  1. Fabric from your wedding dress or other important outfit.  
  2. A portion of a handwritten note from your partner.  
  3. Drawings from your children. 
  4. Cutouts of travel tickets or tickets from important events.  
  5. Fabric from the clothing of a loved one.  
  6. A significant quote, either printed or handwritten.  
  7. Photos of your pets. 
  8. A prayer or words of affirmation.  
  9. Handprint or fingerprint from your children or loved ones.  
  10. A pressed flower from your wedding bouquet or other special event.  

Small, flat items like paper ephemera are also popular for placing in lockets. Anything that can be secured in the recessed sides of your locket can be a great fit.  

How to Put Photos in Lockets

Monica Rich Kosann Petite Turquoise And Mother Of Pearl Locket Pendant In 18k Yellow Gold

The easiest way to put a photo in your locket is to order locket-sized photo prints and glue them into your jewelry. Some lockets feature recessed inserts that do not require glue for securing items within the jewelry. 

You can take the following steps to cut out locket-sized photos or other items at home to insert into your jewelry: 

  1. Lay a plain sheet of paper, pencil, scissors, your locket and the photo or item you’d like in your locket on a flat, smooth surface.  
  2. Measure your locket by tracing its outline on a piece of plain paper.
  3. Cut out the tracing and place it over your chosen photo or item. 
  4. Once you’ve chosen the section you’d like in your locket, place your tracing over it and start cutting around the tracing so both the photo cutout and tracing are the same size.  
  5. The locket tracing and chosen item should be around the same size now, place your chosen locket item in your locket to measure its fit. 
  6. Trim off any excess to help the photo or item fit.  
  7. Place the photo or item in your locket once you’re comfortable with its size. This may require a dot of glue but check to see what works best for your jewelry.  

You can also use photo editing programs to shrink your favorite photos to fit your locket. From there, the photo can be printed and inserted into your locket like any other item.  

Giving Lockets as Gifts

Open empty heart-shaped locket in yellow gold. 

If you’re giving a locket as a jewelry gift, it’s best to choose items that have the most meaning to your gift recipient. This can be photos, words of encouragement or even the birth flowers of their children. 

If you’re not sure what to put in a locket that you’re giving as a gift, it’s best to leave the locket empty so your gift recipient can choose what they’ll put inside. You can engrave the outside of the locket with their first initial, their family nickname or even a special date to personalize the present. 

Top Questions and Answers About Filling Lockets

How do you pick the right photo size?

You can pick the right photo size for your locket by measuring the recessed photo insert of your jewelry. Many jewelry stores will list the measurements of your locket, making it easier to find the right photo size fit for this jewelry

Many items besides photos can be placed in lockets. Pressed flowers, fabric cutouts, handwritten notes and even drawings can fit in lockets.

At Blue Nile, our most popular locket shapes are heart, oval, rectangular, circular and square lockets. 

Photos of loved ones are the most popular item to put in heart lockets (or any lockets for that matter) but this jewelry can be filled with any small sentimental item. 

Personalizing Lockets Further

Round and heart-shaped lockets in gold.

Many lockets can be customized with additional personalization to bring extra meaning. This jewelry can often be engraved with special initials, dates, coordinates or names. You can also choose a locket with gemstones that have special birthstone meanings. 

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