Miniatures 22.12.2016
A gold mourning ring chased with diaper pattern. The circular top set with cornelian rim, encircling crystal with hair. Provenance Bequeathed to Princess Elizabeth by her sister Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester; on her own death in 1844.

Jewels for Princess Elizabeth Caroline, died 1759

Giving a gift of hair is an important factor in tokens of love and affection. An art that is not…

Rings 02.05.2016
A gold fede and gimmel ring consisting of two interlocking and twisted hoops with clasped hands forming the bezel. Within the lower hand is a heart and, when the two hoops are joined, the top hand clasps this heart. The hands extend to the shoulders, becoming cuffs and these are decorated and partly enamelled. On the inside of each hoop is an inscription that remains concealed when the two hoops are shut.

Clasp Hands with an Early Gimmel Ring

Clasping hands is a universal symbol of a union and trust. Personal connections are forged through the range of time…

Rings 10.04.2016
Mourning-ring; enamelled gold, the hoop enamelled white, in the form of two skeletons supporting a coffin-shaped bezel with moveable lid fastened with a pin and ornamented with a Maltese cross once enamelled red, on a black ground with hearts reserved in the metal, an enamelled cinquefoil at one end. Inside the coffin is a tiny white-enamelled skeleton. At the back of the bezel ares two clasped hands.

Skeletal Memento Mori Ring

Mourning jewellery and devotional jewellery represent the same ideals. Piety and love come from an undying fidelity that allows a…

Rings 29.07.2015
Micromosaic mourning ring, c.1800, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Cameo & Micromosaic Influences in Mourning Jewels

Culturally, the values of Europe differ across small geographic regions. Values in religion, politics, and language all have an impact on the styles of…

Lockets 25.12.2014
faithhopecharity_pendant1

Faith, Hope and Charity

The allegory of faith, hope and charity are important symbols of the early modern period, becoming prominent from the late…

Lockets 27.10.2014
Skeleton Charles I ring

A Mourning Tour: Charles I in Mourning Jewellery History

Death is about identity. Having a memory of someone is the crucial element of their continuing existence through a network…

Lockets 31.03.2014
Skeleton Charles I ring

Charles I in Mourning Jewellery History

Death is about identity. Having a memory of someone is the crucial element of their continuing existence through a network…

Rings 27.03.2014
Green Enamel Mourning Ring 1803

1803 Green Enamel Mourning Ring: Part 2

In the first part of this article, the elements that created a green enamel mourning ring have been discovered. The…

Rings 24.03.2014
Green Enamel Mourning Ring 1803

1803 Green Enamel Mourning Ring: Part 1

Enamel is the primary identifier for mourning and sentimental jewels, with colour being the most iconic and simplistic way to…

Rings 12.04.2013
18th Century French Ring

French Sentimentality Captured in an 18th Century Ring

“For You All Alone” (“Pour Vous Tout Seule”) is a sentiment that equates not only to the message of love…

Lockets 19.10.2011

A Grand Statement in an Early Pendant

Often when appraising jewels, it’s easy to lose sight of their fashionable purpose, of promoting an aesthetic that is beautiful…

Rings 13.10.2011
c.1680-1700 Memento Mori Mourning Ring

How Society Entered Mourning: c.1680-1700 Memento Mori Mourning Ring

I’ve written quite a bit about memento mori, it seems to be one of those subjects that is as fascinating…

Brooches 05.09.2011
Blue Pearl Brooch

Revisiting a Pearl and Blue Glass/Enamel Brooch: How Trade Opened Up New Possibilities in the 18th Century

There are so many ways with which to understand a jewel and place it in its context. Let’s look again…

Lockets 11.07.2011
Jean Petitot Louis XIV Enamel Pendant

A Jean Petitot Louis XIV Enamel Pendant?

I’ll let the brilliant Barbara Robbins speak a little about this beautiful piece: “Here is an enamelled portrait miniature of…

Lockets 12.04.2011

Early 19th Century Red Enamel Sentimental Pendant

For a collector of the memorial and sentimental, it’s quite common to find white, black and blue enamels, but when…

Art 17.11.2010
Blue Pearl Brooch

Pearl and Blue Glass/Enamel Brooch: How Trade Opened Up New Possibilities in the 18th Century

I’ve often made mention that one of the most prolific periods for jewellery experimentation in design came about during the…

Rings 23.10.2010

Saturday Show & Tell: 18th Century Skeletal Memento Mori Band

Because I can, here’s a sneak peek at my newest addition to the family and something you’ll be seeing a…

Rings 30.09.2010
c.1680-1700 Memento Mori Mourning Ring

How Society Entered Mourning: c.1680-1700 Memento Mori Mourning Ring

have lost their enamel inlay and are quite worn down, but this one is a perfect representation of how it was from when it was constructed. Note the Baroque influence in the design and how this would influence pieces of contemporary and later times. Particularly, the society in which this ring was created was dealing with the new found stability in the government due to the Restoration and from this, industry was finding new ways to create a niche in producing items for a society that was becoming upwardly mobile in ways that had not been seen since the Roman era. Appropriating popular art styles, such as that of the all-pervasive Baroque, and using its influence in products was (and still is) only a logical step in simply selling an item.

Lockets 25.09.2010
Memento Mori Pendant Fob Silver Painted Skull Enamel

Defining Memento Mori Though Presentation: 18th Century Skull on Pendant

One of the greatest misconceptions and one of the reasons why the term ‘faux’ is applied to a piece of…

Lockets 17.09.2010
Charles I Miniature Pendant with Pearl

Charles I Royalist Pendant with Enamel and Pearl with Discussion

I don’t think there’s enough that I can say about these Charles I pieces. To me, they represent the inception of an industry that certainly was on the verge of being one of the most culturally important movements in modern history, due to its cross-cultural pervasiveness and obvious necessity. Yes, I’m talking about the industry of mourning.

Accessories 22.07.2010

Spotlight On: Bilston (Battersea?) Box

A colourful piece and a statement on mortality, this enamelled box doesn’t have the fine quality of the mourning piece,…

Collecting 15.07.2010

Spotlight On: Memorial Bilston Enamel Box

A famous area for producing enamel the second half of the 18th century, Bilston in was renowned for its artists…

Other 01.07.2010
Bad Enamel and Some Damage / Mourning Brooch

Should I Touch That Enamel?

If you know me well enough, you know that I like to look at things from every angle, so when…

Miniatures 27.06.2010

Spotlight On: John Wood Dodge Miniature

18K solid case and clasp fittings elaborately engraved and enameled, housing portrait of (yet) unknown sitter of watercolor on ivory…

Brooches 31.05.2010

Spotlight On: Snake Brooch

The snake motif was a popular symbol of eternal love, as it showed the snake ingesting its own tail, therefore…

Art 02.05.2010

Cause For Concern?

Now, here is a piece that has caused a lot of distress to many people in the past. If you’re…

Collecting 11.04.2010
Question

Enamel…

If black enamel means death, white enamel means purity and virginity and blue enamel means that the loved one was…