Rings / Welcome to the Art of Mourning

Rings 24.11.2017
 White Enamel Mourning Ring for Wm Benham ob 30 Apr 1796 aet 23

White Enamel Mourning Ring for Wm Benham ob 30 Apr 1796 aet 23

When the young die, they leave behind a lasting imprint on the memory of a family. Their impact was felt…

Rings 15.10.2017
Mourning ring R:R:OB 28 May 1727 AE:23. White enamel, Rococo ribbon band, doves and Georgian heart.

Birds and Hearts: A Mourning Ring for R:R, 28 May 1727

On the surface, this ring shows the simple elements of the Rococo period, which evolved the straight-edged Baroque designs from…

Rings 17.09.2017
Mourning ring for sr, Oswald Mosley FE:1757 AE:52 with white enamel and amethyst.

A Mourning Ring for Oswald Mosley, 1757

A late Rococo, fleur-de-lis ring with a purple foil/paste set bezel and white enamel band featuring the name of Oswald…

Rings 16.04.2017
Mourning ring for Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806). Gold ring, hoop enamelled in black with central hinged rectangular reserve, set with bloodstone carved with ducal coronet above gothic GD monogram and inscription, 'ob. March 30 / 1806'. Back set with woven hair behind glass.

Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire’s Mourning Ring

What we leave behind is often the memory of the influence we had upon people’s lives. Often, a time and…

Rings 03.01.2017

Princess Amelia Mourning Ring, 1810

Fifty of these rings were ordered from Rundell & Bridge [and Rundell] at 58 shillings each. This ring was acquired by…

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 06.12.2016
John Rose Mourning Rings, 1815, black and white enamel with hair

Family Mourning Rings for John Rose, 1815

Mourning jewellery is a physical connection between people. Be it from the wearer to the deceased, it also connects the…

Rings 03.09.2016
Bronze religious buckle ring, c.14th Century, inscribed "MATER DEI MEMANTO" / "Mother of God Remember Me".

Ecclesiastical Jewels in the Middle Ages

Piety and fidelity are the primary aspects of what drive the need for a memory of love. The idea of…

Brooches 27.06.2016
Eye miniautre pendant.

The Collector

A collector’s passion can be driven by the simplest things. There’s the sheer joy and thrill of finding an object…

Rings 09.05.2016
Green Enamel Sentimental Ring with Love Birds & Garlands, Neoclassical, c.1780

Neoclassicism & Love in a Sentimental Ring

A relationship is a series of shared moments that are consigned to memory. Holding the value of a memory with another…

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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 28.04.2016
Gold and black enamel mourning ring with an octagonal swivel case containing, on one side, a gold crowned CR monogram on ground of white hair, under a crystal; the reverse with lock of grey hair and an inscription on the band 'ob 17 Nov, 1818 aet. 75'. Shank enamelled in black.

Royalty & Control in a Mourning Ring for a Queen, 1818

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born on the 19th of May 1744 and passed away on the 17th of November, 1818….

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…

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…

Rings 02.03.2015
Memorial ring in gold and black enamel, the bezel containing a microphotograph, reversed, of the Prince Consort in 1861, which is attributed to J.J.E. Mayall. The cypher linking the initials 'V' and 'A' in white enamel is set into the shanks on either side of the bezel

Victoria’s Photographic Mourning Ring for Albert, 1861

Love doesn’t require historical importance, nor does it an emotion that requires a single catalyst to happen. It is shared…

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,…

Rings 02.02.2015
Princess Amelia was the youngest of the fifteen children of George III and Queen Charlotte. She died at the age of 27 after a long period of illness, precipitating her father's descent into insanity.  This ring is part of a set of 52, commissioned by her brother the Prince Regent, later George IV, to mark her life. It is inscribed 'Remember me' and with her initial 'A'. They were made by the Royal goldsmiths, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.

Princess Amelia Mourning Ring, 1810

Royalty is often the best place to start when finding the most ideal jewel. All of the fashion, the culture…

Rings 01.12.2014
forget-me-not ring, sentimental, blue enamel, cobalt, diamond, rose

Love, Flowers and Diamonds Create a Perfect Ring

Floral motifs in the late 18th century mark a change in symbolic and mourning practice. Even more than just for…

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…

Brooches 15.11.2014
Silesian iron wire-work brooch, c.1825

A Mourning Tour: Berlin Ironwork Jewellery

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

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…

Rings 07.11.2014
Drawing in pencil and watercolour on card

A Mourning Tour: 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…

Rings 06.11.2014
Mourning Ring, 18ct Gold and Enamel, Hallmarked London 18ct Gold Dated 1827 inscribed with "Wm (William) Wrightson ob 26 Dec. 1827 At 75"

A Mourning Tour: In Memoriam / In Memory Of Rings, 19th Century

Black enamel bands are the most recognised of mourning jewels, being placed in very visible positions for others to see,…

Rings 03.11.2014
French Neoclasscal Sepia Mourning Ring

A Mourning Tour: 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…

Rings 01.11.2014
Coronet "A souvenir (memory) of a daughter like no other" Crystal Ring

A Mourning Tour: “A souvenir (memory) of a daughter like no other” Coronet Crystal Ring

There is a delicate sentimentality in Stuart period jewels which reflect a burgeoning sense of love between two people. Attainable…

Rings 31.10.2014
Queen Caroline Of Ansbach Ring

A Mourning Tour: Queen Caroline Of Ansbach Mourning Ring

It’s often the mourning jewels for the monarchy which set the standard for style of their times. These jewels are…

Rings 26.10.2014

A Mourning Tour: Posie Rings

Posie rings, otherwise known as ‘poesy’, ‘posy’ or ‘posey’, are one of the primary catalysts for the mourning and sentimental…

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 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…