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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…

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…

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…

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…

Rings 14.07.2014
Mourning Ring for "Lois Boyes 24 July 1820, age 47"

Connecting And Collecting In An 1820 Ring

Collecting is an art in itself. Discovering facts about a jewel helps one find out more about the life of…

Art 16.06.2014
French Hair Mourning Art from the 19th Century

French Hair Art & The Industry of Mourning

“Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials and survives us like love. It is so…

Miniatures 19.05.2014
rest in peace 18th century urn mourning pendant

“Rest In Peace” – An 18th Century Mourning Pendant

If ever a jewel was a contradiction in its title, it’s this mourning pendant. “Rest In Peace” is written modestly…

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…

Rings 28.04.2014
Onyx ring with willow and urn

The Urn, Willow and Onyx in the 18th Century

The urn and willow captured the imagination of the 18th century like no other mourning symbols. Their prominence of design…

Brooches 14.04.2014
Rosamund Chapman Classical Mourning Ring 1768 / Age 59

Castles, Rivers, Boats and Classical Discovery in Jewellery

Identity is connected to history. Through the values, art and concepts of previous cultures, our identity is legitimised when we…

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 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 10.03.2014
French Neoclasscal Sepia Mourning Ring

French Neoclassical Sepia/Hair Mourning Ring

1788; the colonisation of Australia, South Carolina ratifies the United States constitution to become the seventh state, the first edition…

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…

Art 20.01.2014
mourning sampler Mary Ann Medcalf 1857

Mourning Sampler for the Medcalf Family, 1857

Needlework is one of the most personal expressions of mourning art, and this is due to the lack of a…

Brooches 09.12.2013
William Busby Mourning Brooch

William Busby D.D. Mourning Brooch c.1820

‘In Memory Of’ is such a simple statement, one which represents such a vast number of jewels. Being a statement…

Rings 25.11.2013

“Dead to the world” French Mourning Ring, December 18, 1787

Historical sentimentality, regardless of era, culture or status still relies on the very nature of love and loss. A relationship…

Rings 28.10.2013
Sarah Nicholls, ob 27th Feb, 1755, AE 69 White Enamel Mourning Ring

Sarah Nicholls White Enamel Mourning Ring, ob 27th Feb, 1755, AE 69

Colour and symbolism became the primary elements of the mid-18th century, with the introduction of the Rococo period and its…

Brooches 21.10.2013
Parting with Grief Lily Jennings Mourning Brooch 1795

Parting with Grief Mourning Brooch, 1795

Lilly Jennings passed away on the 19th of January, 1795 at the age of 27. When a person leaves behind…

Lockets 30.09.2013
Front of locket: diamond, starburst

William Henry Smith Mourning Locket

Historical jewels are often marked by a certain quality that comes from having a notorious figure being memorialised. Be it…

Bracelets 23.09.2013
Margaret Sinclair Clasp 1775

Margaret Sinclair Neoclassical Clasp 1775

The Neoclassical period of c.1765-1810 marked a period of intense mourning identification in the most beautiful and sentimental ways. If…

Rings 02.09.2013
Edgar Mourning Ring, 1899

A Mourning Ring for Edgar, April 12th 1901

The late Victorian period was one of standardisation in social formality. In many ways, having standardisation or a static culture…

Brooches 26.08.2013
Black Enamel Mourning Brooch Gothic Revival In Memory Of

The Mourning Brooch Standard, Early-Mid 19th Century

Mourning jewels are easy to identify for their purpose. It is within the sentiment of a jewel that one can…

Bracelets 15.07.2013
Agadez Memorial Bracelet

Agadez: The Tuareg and Memorial Jewellery

These bracelets, replicated by Will Francis, open up a different element to memorial jewellery, one that developed in a different…

Rings 08.07.2013
William Harry Vane, 1st Duke of Cleveland 1842 Serpent Ring

William Harry Vane Serpent Mourning Ring

Sometimes a jewel can be the very definition of its time. A ring, worn to be seen and never hidden,…

Rings 17.06.2013
main garnet hair ring

English/Hebrew Dedicated Mourning Ring, 1780

The fundamental principal of a mourning jewel is to secure the memory of a person and ensure that this memory…

Rings 03.06.2013
Triple Mourning Ring, White Enamel

Triple Mourning Ring, White Enamel, 1791

The profound statement of a mourning jewel brings a tremendous amount of gravity to its existence. The dedication in a…

Brooches 06.05.2013
foiled amethysts/paste 19th Century Brooch

Foiled by Amethysts/Pastes in a 19th Century Brooch

This wonderful brooch consists of yellow gold with foiled amethysts/pastes. There are elements to the brooch which show many influences…

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