A Lover's Eye pendant, or "eye miniature", is one which contains a miniature painting of the eye of a lover, given to the beloved as a keepsake and reminder of the giver's love. Legend has it that the practice started with the Lover's Eye given to Maria Fitzherbert by the Prince of Wales in the 1780s, as a token of his [forbidden] love. Lover's Eyes came and went quickly - the fad lasted only from the late 1780s to about 1820.
A Lover's Eye could be a pendant or brooch, or could be embedded into an everyday object, like a toothpick holder or cosmetic case.
|Philadelphia Museum of Art|
I fell in love with Lover's Eyes as soon as I saw them. They're so delightfully weird! I decided to make my own.
I started with a pendant setting I bought from Etsy, with a press-in acrylic cabochon. I used pearl beads and a pinback I had in my stash, and I drew the Eye myself using pencil and Prismacolor colored pencils. I cut off the bail from the pendant setting, turned it sideways, and glued a pinback to the back of it. Then I placed the Eye drawing into the setting and pressed the acrylic cab into it to seal it in. Then I glued 4mm pearl beads to the setting all around the edge of the setting.
Pearls are often thought of as symbolic of tears in Lover's Eye jewelry; it's thought that an Eye surrounded by pearls and looking out through painted clouds symbolizes a deceased or lost loved one. I decided to dispense with the symbolism and go with pearls for my Eye simply because I love the look. (Although I guess you could say it symbolizes my dead love life as a whole, hehe).
Here's my Lover's Eye brooch. I'm really pleased with the way it came out, and I can't wait to wear it. It doesn't represent anyone in particular, as I have no secret lover; I was just fascinated with the concept and wanted to make one of my own. I wish there wasn't a gap in the pearl beads; that bothers me. And I think next time I do this I'll make the eye smaller so there's more space around it. And of course, I'd like to get less superglue on my hands when I do these kinds of things, heehee.
This was a fun little build; I'd love to make more and maybe give them as strange little gifts. My roommate suggested making a Monster Eye and then wearing goth-Regency for Halloween, hehe. I think I might make a googly-eye one just for grins.