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 06.08.2015
Silver gilt ring, the applied bezel with a heart between two death's heads. The hoop engraved with a worm and inscribed in black letter + iohes godefroy

The Earliest Mourning Ring

Discovering a beginning is the true way to understand the very essence of a concept. Mourning, at its core, is about…

Accessories 23.02.2015
This mourning buckle contains panels of woven hair, decorated with an elaborate inscription in gold thread and a small enamelled skull, all set behind rock crystal. The inscription, partly in latin, tells us that the piece commemorates Elizabeth Harman who died on 11 April 1698, aged 27.

Mourning Shoe Buckles and Fashion

As with any piece of fashion accessory, if it could be introduced into the mourning industry, it would be. The…

Rings 18.02.2015
memento mori mourning ring Samuell Nicholets obijt 17 July (1661) Christ is my portion 'Samuel Nicholets died 17 July 1661'

Memento Mori Mourning Ring, Samuel Nicholets, 17 July, 1661

Designs of death in jewellery and art are constantly evolving. Symbolism is the core of of identity in a culture,…

Is It, Or Isn't It? 20.11.2014
Skull Hairwork Ring Early 19th Century

A Mourning Tour: Anachronisms and a Mourning Ring

Anachronisms, or pieces from the times that don’t correlate to when they are meant to exist, are quite typical of…

Textiles 16.11.2014
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.

A Mourning Tour: Children in Mourning

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

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…

Is It, Or Isn't It? 03.03.2014
Skull Hairwork Ring Early 19th Century

Anachronisms and a Mourning Ring

Anachronisms, or pieces from the times that don’t correlate to when they are meant to exist, are quite typical of…

Rings 18.11.2013
"Love is the Bond of Peace" Skeleton Band

“Love is the Bond of Peace” Skeleton Band

Death, as an identification of mortality in a mourning jewel, began using the most obvious tropes relating to the desecration…

Memories 31.10.2012
Halloween at Art of Mourning Memento Mori

Halloween, 2012? Memento Mori!

As this is one of the few holidays that embraces the macabre and all the symbols of Memento Mori have…

Rings 07.03.2012
1755 Memento Mori Ring

Stuart Crystal Ring with Memento Mori Skull, 1755

Showing the Rococo scroll-work, faceted crystal and the blossom gold work on the back, this piece is a proud example…

Rings 05.03.2012
Memento Mori Rococo Stuart Crystal Skull Ring White Enamel

White Enamel Memento Mori Ring, 1740 for a 16 Year Old

A perfect example of an early use of the white enamelled convention for signifying the unmarried or ‘virginal’, this crystal…

Rings 02.03.2012
Rococo Memento Mori Skull Ring

Elaborate Rococo Memento Mori Ring, 1740

The 1740-60 period saw the absolute peak of the Rococo style and mourning jewellery reflected the mainstream in the same…

Rings 29.02.2012
Memento Mori Rococo Stuart Crystal Skull Ring

1761 Rococo Memento Mori Skull Ring

When people ask what the Rococo influence on jewellery was during the mid 18th century, this is the ring that…

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…

Is It, Or Isn't It? 29.08.2011
Mento Mori Skull Pin Ruby Eyes

Adding Some Flesh to a Skull & Crossbones Pin

It’s always the odd one out. Among the more common questions I receive at Art of Mourning revolve around the…

Brooches 15.06.2011
1697 Ribbon Slide

Skull and Hairwork in a 1697 Stuart Crystal Ribbon Slide

Circular / oval styles became more common in slides during the late 17th Century and into the early 18th Century….

Rings 31.10.2010
Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 Memento Mori Ring

Spooky! Skeletal Rings, Memento Mori and the Evolution of the Symbol

For today’s look at a series of skeletal rings, I’m going to focus on the period of c.1700-c.1740 and take…

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.