Accessories 17.10.2012

Mourning, Memorial and Sentimental Accessories

Thomas White, London Skull Clock

Memorial jewellery accessories are quite numerous, due to the popular and personal nature of the style and also because of the tremendous amount of money to be made in its popularity.

Popular fashion over the course of the 17th to 19th Centuries guided the memorial industry to produce a wide variety of memorial and sentimental items, ranging from snuffboxes to household items. Certainly, ‘Mourning Warehouses’ which cater to every aspect of the funeral and its surrounding miscellany are a tribute to this.

Pieces were created to commemorate the passing of famous people and events, or to reflect personal preference. While many items may be prolific, others may reflect the personal tastes of the person for whom it was commissioned.

In jewellery, accessories are the items associated with a particular form of fashion. Be they mourning sets, earrings, stick pins or cufflinks, there are a multitude of periphery items which are associated with a particular time, function and fashion.

This focus on accessories leads to the series of articles on textiles and the changing fashion in mourning culture. Much of this shows the change from the watch you see above, to the very nature of mourning jewels and their sentimental resonance that much of mainstream culture today understands as symbols and styles of mourning.

There is a greater study further to this during the 20th century that has led cultural shifts in mourning culture, particularly in Western cultures, where globalisation has led to homogenisation of customs, yet more secular cultures have retained many of their traditional values over many hundreds of years.

Regardless, the 17th to the early 20th centuries are what we focus upon and the industry of mourning that led to these remarkable jewels and trinkets, so please take the time to read through the series below if you want to learn about mourning culture, clothing and accessories:

Textiles Series

Textiles and Mourning Custom: 17th Century, Part 1
Textiles and Mourning Custom: 17th Century, Part 2
Textiles and Mourning Custom: 18th Century, Part 1
Textiles and Mourning Custom: 18th Century, Part 2
Textiles and Mourning Custom: 19th Century, Part 1
Textiles and Mourning Custom: 19th Century, Part 2