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Show Dad A Little Love

New cuff links from The Lockkeepers Collection – the luxury jewelry that wowed Moms and graduates – now are available to surprise fashionable guys on Father’s Day.

The collection features locks and keys inspired by the original keys that lockkeepers of yesteryear used to open the locks along the C&O Canal.


The set depicts a key on one cuff link and a lock on the other cuff link. They will especially appeal to any history buff for Father’s Day.

If Dad is the organized type and right-handed, suggest he wear the key link on his right cuff, covering his key-turning wrist. If he’s a lefty, put the key link on the left cuff.

The links work equally well on a woman’s blouse cuffs.

This line of custom key jewelry is the brainchild of DC-Maryland-Virginia area jeweler Sherrie Beckstead. The new fashion-forward keys are smaller than what the lockkeepers used, of course. In addition to cuff links, keys are worn as necklaces, others as brooches or lapel pins. And, some are studded with black or white diamonds.

The jewelry is available at The Lockkeepers Collection. The cuff links sell for $275.00. Prices range from $1,995 to $2,495 for key necklaces of rose gold, white gold or yellow with or black or white diamonds. For the sterling silver version, prices range from $75 to $650.

Newly released is a LOCK necklace that takes its cue from the original locks on the C&O Canal. It sells for $495.00, and offers an engravable space on the reverse side.


Beckstead’s design for the collection was motivated by the Lockkeeper’s House story and her love for American history and education. The Lockkeeper’s House, constructed in 1837 and 350 square feet in size, is the oldest building on the Mall. Sherrie serves on the National Advisory Council for the Trust for the National Mall.

The C&O Canal extends 184 miles from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. Several years after the canal opened, an eastward extension was built to link the canal to the Potomac River and the Washington City Canal. The house was built near what is now the southwest corner of 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue to serve the extension’s lock.

The lockkeepers who occupied the house worked as a toll collectors, record keepers, traffic managers, and maintenance men. Their locks, and others along the canal, such as next to 30th Street in Georgetown, enabled the canal’s narrow barges to navigate the 76-foot increase in water elevation as the canal climbed from the low levels of Washington into Maryland.

The canal was essentially a commercial operation from its opening until 1924, when it surrendered to the competition of the railroad. It then gradually became a tourist attraction, boosted by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas’ hike of its entire length, and then in 1971 by a new law creating Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

To help support the Lockkeeper’s House and other historic elements of the Mall, 50 percent of each sale from The Lockkeepers Collection will be donated to the National Mall Trust.