Miniatures 04.07.2016
Mourning miniature for a child.

A Boy’s Mourning Miniture

The 1800-1820 period in mourning jewels solidified their necessity and identity within social status and culture. The British, French and…

Collecting 10.12.2015
Photograph of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) with Empress Frederick (1840-1901) both wearing black in mourning holding a photograph of Emperor Frederick III who died in June 1888

Mourning Jewels: How They Were Worn, Part 2

The wearing of 18th century mourning jewelry set the template for numerous revivals through to the 20th century. The 19th century was the catalyst…

Accessories 03.10.2015
A French chatelaine of cut steel, c. 1770-1780, with oval glazed compartment, one side showing initials in hair (FJC) on an ivory background, the other with a wheat sheaf, also from hair on ivory, showing three broken stalks and three birds in flight above. The top has a swivel spring clip, the bottom has an oval cut steel medallion attached to a second swivel spring clip. The links are attached with faceted split rings. There are two side bell caps; whatever was there originally is now missing- perhaps seals? There are holes around the tops of the decorative twist on the caps- perhaps something was pinned inside? Very good condition, hairwork is pristine, end of steel medallion missing half of small finial, one steel facet missing at 6 o’clock on the wheat sheaf side surround. Some rust, mostly to bottom medallion. Measures 10” long; the glazed compartment measures 3/4” x 5/8”.

The Chatelaine, Function and Sentimentality

Tokens of affection aren’t simply baubles that are transient, they are often useful accessories that hold a memory within their daily…

Collecting 16.09.2015
Mourning ring; gold; marquise bezel studded round border with garnets in settings over bands of blue and white enamel; contains figure of Britannia(?) sitting on stern of vessel on which is a name, and wreathing the picture of an admiral; lion at her feet with paw on dead dove. No maker's mark.

Death at Sea: Mourning Jewellery and Nationalism

Being lost at sea strikes an image of loss and departure that evokes the very essence of sadness. In the very…

Rings 14.11.2014
Large navette shaped 15K gold ring, with 3-D ivory and gold mausoleum with a rounded dome and classical columns,  enclosing an eternal flame, and bearing the inscription, “zum andenken gewidmet”,  (“dedicated to the memory of”) upon an altar decorated with gold wires and hair.  Strands of hair are also laid along the sides of the mausoleum, as well as on some of the steps.  Around the bezel is cobalt blue enamel with gold letters giving the birth and death dates of the individual in German:  Gebohren den 22 Juli 1714 Gestorben den 1 Oct. 1783 (Born the 22 of July 1714, died the 1 of Oct. 1783). Part of the setting has been pried up, and the bezel and glass covering (replaced from old celluloid cover), can be easily lifted out.  The shank is plain, and tapers to a narrow band. I'm guessing it's English made for a German client.

A Mourning Tour: German Mourning and Sentimental Jewellery

Understanding the way a culture operates is seen within the designs and art of a jewel. Until investment in the…

Brooches 05.11.2014
Miers Sentimental Shade Profile Silhouette Brooch

A Mourning Tour: Silhouettes & Shades From Miers & Field

Capturing the image of a loved one affordably and quickly is a relatively modern invention. Having the technology to produce…

Rings 13.10.2014
Mary Dean Obt 27 Augt 1794 AEt.73. eye portrait ring mourning

An Eye Miniature Mourning Ring, Mary Dean Obt 27 Augt 1794 AEt.73.

Eye portraits are rare and highly sought after, but there is variation between them. In the portrait shown, the setting…

Rings 22.09.2014
Large navette shaped 15K gold ring, with 3-D ivory and gold mausoleum with a rounded dome and classical columns,  enclosing an eternal flame, and bearing the inscription, “zum andenken gewidmet”,  (“dedicated to the memory of”) upon an altar decorated with gold wires and hair.  Strands of hair are also laid along the sides of the mausoleum, as well as on some of the steps.  Around the bezel is cobalt blue enamel with gold letters giving the birth and death dates of the individual in German:  Gebohren den 22 Juli 1714 Gestorben den 1 Oct. 1783 (Born the 22 of July 1714, died the 1 of Oct. 1783). Part of the setting has been pried up, and the bezel and glass covering (replaced from old celluloid cover), can be easily lifted out.  The shank is plain, and tapers to a narrow band. I'm guessing it's English made for a German client.

German Mourning and Sentimental Jewellery

Understanding the way a culture operates is seen within the designs and art of a jewel. Until investment in the…

Brooches 02.06.2014
Miers Sentimental Shade Profile Silhouette Brooch

Silhouettes & Shades From Miers & Field

Capturing the image of a loved one affordably and quickly is a relatively modern invention. Having the technology to produce…

Brooches 22.07.2013
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Sentimental Elephant Pelican

An Elephant in a Sentimental Neoclassical Sepia Brooch

The most interesting sentimental jewels are the ones that represent their time. They lead us into a narrative that represents…

Brooches 24.04.2013
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Hairwork

Keep This As A Small Token of Love Brooch

The combination of palette-worked hair and sentimental symbolism is one that owes itself to the 18th century. While the use…

Lockets 19.12.2012
Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre Mourning Pendant

“Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre” – “The further the distance the tighter the knot” Sepia Miniature

Upon the advent of the Neoclassical influence upon art, culture and jewellery post-1765, the presentation of love and grief within…

Brooches 13.07.2012

“Mourn, oh Cupids and Venuses!”

Anyone who has been collecting mourning jewelry for some time knows that there are definite similarities between jewels of mourning…

Brooches 11.07.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Sentimental Lantern

A Lantern Lights the Way / Neoclassical Sepia Brooch

This particular brooch is a fine example of late 18th century jewellery, in its construction and symbolism. The paste surround…

Brooches 09.07.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Sentimental Bird Peacock

Peacock Symbolism in a Neoclassical Brooch

For a work of art from a specific period in jewellery history, there’s nothing so unique as this brooch. Forsaking…

Brooches 06.07.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Mourning Not Lost But Gone Before

Neoclassical Sepia Mourning Brooch: Not Lost But Gone Before

There is a lot of elegant and unique detail in this wonderful brooch, much of its representation is quite simple…

Brooches 04.07.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Initials

JJ, A Sepia Neoclassical Brooch

This remarkable brooch shares many popular characteristics of its time and creates a statement for itself in contemporary fashion. Symbolically,…

Brooches 02.07.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Faith Hope Charity

Sarah Honlett, Age 14 Moves ‘Toward the Heavens’ in this Neoclassical Brooch

Faith, hope and charity are of the most typical symbols during the 19th century; their nondescript sentimentality and adherence to…

Brooches 29.06.2012
Not Lost But Gone Before Bracelet Clasp

‘Not Lost But Gone Before’ Sepia / Neoclassical Ideal

Two of the greatest art styles to affect mourning and sentimental jewellery are neoclassicism and romanticism, looking back to classical…

Brooches 27.06.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch NYPT In The Bud." Oval

Neoclassical Sepia Brooch / “NYPT In The Bud”

The floral motif runs strong in this large sepia miniature. Each symbol carries into itself and it has accomplished this…

Brooches 25.06.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch Romantic

Love Unites Us in a Stunning Sepia Brooch

This sepia brooch exemplifies its style and setting in fashion, as often sepia miniatures are considered by many to be…

Brooches 22.06.2012
Neoclassical Sepia Brooch

“Hope of Eternal Life” – Sepia Mourning Brooch

Rarely does a jewel offer so many areas of interpretation and resonate with such a unique story of its own….

Rings 28.05.2012
Love Survives With Death Divides Ring

Love Survives With Death Divides in a Ring

Love, sentimentality and mourning became a personal thing during the late 18th century, something facilitated by the humanist Neoclassical movement….

Rings 21.05.2012
Eye Portrait Miniature Ring Georgian

Miniature Georgian Eye Portrait Ring

Eye portraits are rare and highly sought after, but there is variation between them. In the portrait shown, the setting…

Miniatures 21.10.2011
John Barry Miniature Portrait 1785

A Father, A Daughter and an 18th Century Miniature Portrait

An oval double portrait miniature attributed to British artist John Barry (active 1784-1827); one side has sepia miniature portrait on…

Rings 24.11.2010
Male Mourning Ring

A Father’s Grief in a Ring from 1796

I’ve written a little bit about the male in mourning pieces and how they often skew to the more personal…

Lockets 09.10.2010
Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre Mourning Pendant

The Further the Distance the Tighter the Knot; Eternity and Romantic Symbolism on a French Sepia Miniature

Symbolism and beauty are two words to describe this French piece. The two birds (winged souls) tying together the knot of eternity and love as the ship is sailing away from the castle on top of a cliff face. The boat can be taken as a literal interpretation of sentimental distance, or as the passage of a soul towards the afterlife, however as the boat shows its passage towards the horizon, then one can expect that the symbolism falls into the latter. When combined with the eternity knot, the sentiment of love shows a love forever unbroken despite any figurative distance.