Love, sentimentality and mourning became a personal thing during the late 18th century, something facilitated by the humanist Neoclassical movement. Beyond being simple a band of a ring with a name dedication, the person being memorialised could often become the artwork itself. This isn’t in the elaborate sense of the Neoclassical jewels, but the initials and the dedication are so simplistic and powerful, that the very individual becomes the art; the wearer becomes the physical tombstone with which is it placed.
With this ring, we have the Latin phrase wrapping the navette shape and flanking the initials inside. Note the very fine embellishments to the initials in the sepia; it can be truly said that a fine artist was quite meticulous in their creation of this ring, as it has a lot of intricacies in its simplicity.
The initials being worn by a loved one for their departed is common in Neoclassical jewels, regardless of their quality. Quite often, it is the finer jewel that uses materials to form the initials of the loved one (such as diamonds), rather than showing the allegorical sentimental depiction of mourning. There is a specific nature to their creation that makes them survive the years beyond other forms of memorial jewels, due much to their being specific – these jewels are harder to re-appropriate.
Indeed, beyond all, it shows how society had changed. For a ring created around the period of the American Revolution and French Great Terror, there’s a distinct importance upon the value of human life, be it for the culmination of their importance to society or simply to the family and person that was I mourning. For a jewel to be worn in such bold fashion as a marker for a personal statement of love, suddenly the Church or Monarchy seem to be on the peripherals of importance to a person.