This heart-shaped gold locket is suspended from three short gold chains.

In the centre is an onyx cameo cut with a bust of Queen Mary in profile. The cameo is of French or Italian origin but the outer case of the heart-shaped pendant is a late 16th century Scottish locket. Made of gold with cloisonné enamel, it is elaborately ornamented with flowers and leaves in delicate greens, blue and white and set with small diamonds and a native cut ruby. Though the history of the jewel is unknown, evidence exists that sixteenth century monarchs often presented mounted cameos of themselves as rewards or marks of favour. Given its elaborate nature, the unknown recipient of the cameo jewel must have performed a deed of considerable importance.


Probably given by Queen Mary in return for a service of importance.

National Museum of Scotland

Chambers Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1JF
0300 123 6789

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm 26 Dec and 1 Jan, 12 – 5pm Closed 25 Dec

Exhibitions at National Museum of Scotland

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