Rings 06.10.2014
This gold ring has an oval bezel that opens to form a concealed locket, containing an enamelled portrait of Charles I (reigned 1625-49). The hinged lid is set with a diamond on an enamelled ground.  Commemorative jewellery depicting royalty was usually produced after the monarch's death, but was occasionally available during their lifetime, to be worn as a demonstration of loyalty. Commemorative jewellery, in the form of rings, lockets or hair clasps, was produced in great numbers after Charles' execution on 30 January 1649. Many examples have hinged lids: supporters of the Royalist cause, who wished to keep their allegiance secret, probably wore these during the Commonwealth under the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 again produced great numbers of commemorative jewellery, made for those who claimed to have been Royalist supporters all along. Some rings commemorating Charles I were presented during his lifetime by his Queen, Henrietta Maria (1609-69), to Royalist supporters in appreciation of their continuing loyalty and financial backing, to be redeemed when the Civil War had ended.  Much commemorative jewellery is decorated with black enamel in the same fashion as mourning jewellery. The shoulders of this ring have a scroll pattern reserved in gold on a ground of black enamel, the diamond is bordered with black enamel, and the border of the bezel is decorated with a black and white enamelled pattern.  C. Oman, British rings 800-1914 (London, Batsford, 1974)

Memorial Ring Commemorating Charles I

Secrecy and devotion are intrinsically linked. Without the elements of love and fidelity that connect people, there is no honesty…

Memories 15.09.2014
Brooch in gold and enamel in the form of an enamelled ER VII monogram with a red and green enamelled crown. The crown and the letter R are set with diamonds.

Decline of Mourning

The decline and disappearance of the mourning industry does not have one simple answer. It is a mix of cultural…

Textiles 08.09.2014
Object Type  Painted panels depicting family members with the symbols of birth, death and marriage were a common way of commemorating significant rites of passage. They acted as reminders to the living of their own mortality and were often handed down through later generations as heirlooms. The folding panels in this example emphasise the intimate nature of the object.  Subjects Depicted  The panels include several references to the passing of time and the fragility of life, as well as the events of marriage and death. On the left exterior panel are figures representing youth and age. On the right are two inscriptions, each incorporating a visual pun or 'rebus', in which a picture or figure represents a name, word or phrase. Here Christ is represented by a painted figure and the clock dial completes the inscription 'We Must' by representing the words 'Die All'.  Dress  Henry and Dorothy Holme are dressed in the style of the well-to-do merchant class rather than the height of fashion. While their garments are quite plain they could clearly afford the luxury of lace accessories. Henry's ruff and cuffs are trimmed with fine imported needle lace. His wife's are trimmed with bobbin lace of a typically English pattern. Broad-brimmed beaver hats, such as Dorothy wears, were popular with country gentlewomen and women of the merchant class.  Costume provides a clue to the sex of the children in this portrait. Boys up to the age of about 7 were dressed like little girls, wearing skirts known as petticoats. To differentiate them from girls the bodice part of their costume took the form of a man's doublet. Little girls typically wore an embroidered cap, or 'coif', and an apron with a bib. Long narrow strips of fabric known as leading strings are attached to both the children's sleeves. These were used to guide children as they learned to walk.

Children in Mourning

A child in mourning is the ultimate symbol of family grief. The child is what carries forward a memory and…

Rings 01.09.2014
Drawing in pencil and watercolour on card

19th Century Jewellery Designs and Primary Sources

In the early modern era of jewellery design and manufacture, there is the need to create standardisation for artists to…

Miniatures 18.08.2014
French Mourning Miniature and mother on February 22nd, 1787, age 11 years, 4 months and 22 days.”

A French Mourning Pendant in 1787 For A Child

One of the most difficult concepts to gasp when identifying and appreciating mourning jewels is trying to separate the emotional…

Lockets 11.08.2014
French St Esprit Necklace

French Saint Esprit Dove Necklace

During the Rococo period of the 18th century, much of the most ornate and elaborate jewellery was created. Rococo as a…

Brooches 04.08.2014
"Recuerd" Brooch with Turquoise, Doves and Forget-Me-Nots

A ‘Recuerdo’ Brooch and Mourning/Sentimental Value

‘REGARD’ is a term used for both mourning and sentimental jewels; a term which crossed cultures and was embraced for…

Lockets 28.07.2014
Silver Georgian Heart 18th Century Mourning Sentimental Jewel

A Silver Georgian Heart Pendant

Silver is a metal which has seen its appreciation rise and fall through the early modern era, but it is…

Brooches 21.07.2014
Come Ye Blessed Mourning Ribbon Slide Stuart Crystal Skeleton Cherub

‘Come Ye Blessed’ – A Memento Mori Ribbon Slide and Memento Mori Evolution

Memento mori and its adaptation into jewellery and accessories is a unique look into how human behaviour and identity. Throughout…

Lockets 09.06.2014
American Daguerreotype Locket Jewel

American Mourning & Sentimental Jewelry From the 19th Century

Perspectives and perceptions of sentimentality and mourning in popular thought and culture are cemented within the second half of the…

Brooches 08.05.2014
Silesian iron wire-work brooch, c.1825

Berlin Ironwork Jewellery

Giving something precious for an important cause is considered one of the most respectful ways to show honour and fidelity…

Hairwork 24.02.2014
Victorian Hairwork Fob Chain With Serpent Clasp Heart

The Art of Hairwork Collection

The Art of Hairwork was originally a series of articles written in 2012 as the format of Art of Mourning…

Hairwork 30.07.2013

The Meaning of Hair in Jewellery

Hairwork is a strange material to the modern viewer. Clouded with mystique and modern interpretations of what hair means, this…

Collecting 24.12.2011

Christmas Gifts

For January only, Mark and Lord Coconut along with your dearest Art of Mourning will be offering 10% off all…

Art 31.10.2011
1850 Mourning Ring

*Boo!* Gothic Revival in Culture and Jewellery: Part 3, Breaking Perceptions

After the previous looks at the Gothic Revival period and its affect on subsequent mourning jewellery, one of the things…

Rings 28.10.2011

Roger Kelsall Mourning Ring, Part 3

His son John, I’m guessing, commissioned this mourning ring. His law career would have him fluent in Latin. He respects…

Rings 26.10.2011

Roger Kelsall Mourning Ring, Part 2

Roger Kelsall’s father, John, of Scottish descent, came to the colonies from England and settled in South Carolina. He owned…

Rings 24.10.2011

Roger Kelsall Mourning Ring, Part 1

It seems that we, as mortal beings, with hopes and dreams like any other human, find a connection with the…

Rings 17.10.2011
Charles I Mourning Ring Front

An Historical Charles I Ring

This piece dedicated to Charles I is a display of affection that would eventually generate the popularity of the mourning…

Collecting 28.09.2011

Essential Mourning and Sentimental Jewellery Books, Part 2

Following on from Part 1 of our little book review adventure, here are a few books that may or may…

Collecting 26.09.2011

Essential Mourning and Sentimental Jewellery Books, Part 1

Over at my website Art of Mourning, I’ve got a reasonably comprehensive list of the essential books to buy if…

Collecting 21.07.2011
In Memory of Collecting

Helping to Create Memories

A collector is truly the fabric that binds history. Without the collector, the history and the stories of all that…

Symbolism 22.05.2011

Symbolism Sunday Memorial

A list of articles based around popular Neoclassical symbols and motifs: Previously on Symbolism Sunday: The Lamb Mizpah The Maltese…

Symbolism 01.05.2011
Maltese Cross Fob

Symbolism Sunday, The Maltese Cross / Cross Formée

It’s that time of the week again and we’re going to cross our symbols a little. Normally, this wouldn’t be…

Symbolism 13.03.2011
Broom locket symbolism jewellery

Symbolism Sunday, The Upside-Down Torch

Let’s light the way this Sunday with one of the more unfortunate symbols in jewellery history, a symbol that would…

Collecting 09.03.2011

For Those Who Came In Late: Interview with Jewellery Historian and Creative Director, Hayden Peters

For those who visit this site and experience a new/different area of jewellery that is part of cultrual and social…

Symbolism 27.02.2011

Symbolism Sunday, Wheat

It’s another Sunday and you’re no doubt very hungry this morning for a good brunch, so to get you in…

Art 25.02.2011
1850 Mourning Ring

Gothic Revival in Culture and Jewellery: Part 3, Breaking Perceptions

After the previous looks at the Gothic Revival period and its affect on subsequent mourning jewellery, one of the things…

Art 25.01.2011


Due to its black colour and easy translation into mourning costume, jet is a material which suffers from mourning connotations,…

Collecting 24.12.2010

The One That Got Away: An Advisory Tale for Xmas Avarice

Once upon a time I was travelling the continent and happened upon a small shop on the outskirts of an…