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…

Photography 16.12.2016

Jewels, Memory and Photography

Despite the title of this dissertation in mourning and sentimental jewellery being ‘Art of Mourning’, the primary message of the…

Brooches 02.10.2016
Neoclassical mourning jewel showing father and children next to a tomb inscribed 'Alas! She's gone'. In the Heavens is a cherub holding a sign stating 'GLORY'.

Alas! She’s Gone, Part 2

In a connection between a parent and child, the basis of the family is measured by their love and their…

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 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….

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 12.11.2015
Collection of mourning and sentimental jewels donated to Art of Mourning

A Collection & The Late 19th Century

Mourning jewellery holds a certain fascination in jewellery collecting, far more than any other modern style of jewel. They are…

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…

Accessories 30.10.2014
Princess Charlotte candlestick

Memorial Princess Charlotte Candlestick

The cultural impact of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ death is one of the most significant events in Western cultural mourning…

Brooches 25.10.2014
Butterfly mourning brooch, sardonyx cameo “Henry James Esqr died /13th Nov 1839 in his 80th Year”

Butterfly Symbols and 19th Century Jewellery

As with all symbols, there aren’t simple explanations for them when they transcend one culture or time. Organic symbols have…

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…

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…

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 11.11.2013
Sepia ring, c.1770, pearls, cherub, wreath, column, hearts, dove

Sacred to Friendship – Discovering New Messages of Love in 1770

One of the key aspects of a love token is that it resonates a certain personality of its wearer. With…

Brooches 04.11.2013
Wellington Mourning Cameo

Wellington Mourning Brooch

A state funeral has the highest cultural impact on mourning fashion. From the creation of memorial jewellery to the random…

Lockets 01.07.2013
Charles I Royalist Pendant, Jan 30, 1648

Charles I Royalist Pendant, Jan 30, 1648

Charles I was born on the 19th of November, 1600 and executed on the 30th of January 1649, facing a…

Accessories 20.05.2013
Princess Charlotte candlestick

Memorial Princess Charlotte Candlestick

The cultural impact of Princess Charlotte of Wales’ death is one of the most significant events in Western cultural mourning…

Lockets 28.11.2012
Stuart Crystal Heart Memento Mori Locket

Memento Mori Stuart Crystal Heart

Several factors in this pendant make it pertinent to symbolic, industrial and cultural history. The truth in this piece is…

Lockets 26.11.2012
Charles II Locket

Charles II Pendant

The reunification of England was crucial to the development of the mourning and sentimental jewellery industry, primarily due to religious…

Lockets 23.11.2012
Charles I Locket

Lockets and Pendants From Early Modern to Today

In the same fashion as rings, lockets and pendants are important in their evolution and personal importance. As relevant as…

Accessories 17.10.2012
Thomas White, London Skull Clock

Mourning, Memorial and Sentimental Accessories

Memorial jewellery accessories are quite numerous, due to the popular and personal nature of the style and also because of…

Lockets 12.08.2011

Researching a Mourning Locket for Commander Robert Pouncy

Those of you who know me a bit by now are aware of the pleasure I get from researching the…

Art 11.01.2011

1914 Memorial Sampler

From 1914, this piece shows the great difference in style from the previous century. In many ways, it is more…

Art 07.01.2011
Mary Urbas Photographic Memorial

Mary Urbas 1904 Photographic Memorial

Made for the young Mary Urbas, this piece was a purchased and tailored (possibly by the funerary arranger) to accommodate…

Art 25.12.2010
White Terraces destroyed by eruption 1886. A joyous Christmas.

A Joyous Christmas

Even if you’re not terribly religious, Christmas is undeniably a sentimental time, one that can at the very least be…

Art 30.11.2010
French 1851 Hair Art / Memorial

Magnificent 1851 French Hairwork Art

This sublime and elegant work still has the original maker’s details and appears almost untouched by age. The thick curls…

Art 13.10.2010

JFK Memorial, An Example of Memorial Ephemera in the 20th Century

With mourning being a constant earner of capital, events draw quite a large amount of memorial paraphernalia, as seen in…

Art 06.10.2010

Photography + Ephemera

Photography and memorial ephemera are intrinsically linked and the use of photography within memorial ephemera only grew as the process…

Art 11.08.2010

Prince Albert Memorial Ephemera

One of the most important moments in the history of the memorial industry was the death of Prince Albert on…