Not all Victorian jewelry with hair was memorial jewelry for when a loved one past. It was also customary to gift a lock of hair to a cherished friend, a close relative, or a lover. These tokens of affection stemmed from a long-held belief that a person needed to be whole on the final Judgement Day. So, if someone had a lock of hair, then the one whose hair it was had to seek out the friend or lover, to see each other one last time, before continuing on. This idea transformed into sentimental jewelry, especially during the 1800s when courting lasted a long time. A lock of hair was a gift of high esteem, meant to reassure affection, and to remind the other that one day they would wed. This ring of pearls and woven hair could have been a memorial ring, lamenting the loss of someone dear; but it as easily could have been a gift from a mother to a daughter as a token of love and gratitude, or a gift between a husband and wife, expressing love and devotion.
This antique Victorian pearl and gold memorial ring was handcrafted in Birmingham, England in 1859. It was made in 22 karat gold and features a lock of woven brown hair beneath glass at the center, bordered by 12 creamy half pearls. Each of the pearl measures 1.4 mm in diameter. The split shoulders bear a golden sphere that leads to a solid shank. The ring face measures 10 x 10 x 4 mm off the finger and the band width is 2.4 mm at the back. This ring is fully hallmarked and bears the gold purity mark, “22”, the anchor for Birmingham, the date letter, “k”, and Queen Victoria’s duty mark. This beautifully kept ring is a size 7.5 and weighs 2.4 grams.
Eventually, locks of woven hair were replaced with photographs as the age of photography took over. But these precious pieces of the past remain for now, and a ring like this, a rare find – especially in this condition, belongs in your jewelry box.
We offer a 3 or 4 payment layaway on most items purchased for full retail price, please inquire if you are interested in setting up a layaway. Items ship when payment is complete and items purchased or payments made on layaway are eligible for store credit only. Please note that our photographs are part of our description, please look carefully, we do not digitally alter our items. We always want you to be happy with every aspect of your purchase, and If you are not completely satisfied for any reason simply let us know and we'll work together to get the item returned for a full refund. I guarantee that my pictures and descriptions are as accurate as possible. My goal is to exceed your best expectations!
Memento Mori is Latin for, ‘Remember that you have to die’. I swear it’s not as morbid as it sounds. It’s different from traditional mourning jewelry in the sense that it’s not mourning at all. It’s accepting the idea that death will come. It allows the wearer to be reminded of his or her own mortality and the afterlife.
Memento Mori jewelry was most popular during the 1600s and the first half of the 1700s. By the mid-1700s the trend began to die off (pun intended).
This Georgian heart shaped Memento Mori pendant was handcrafted in England, around 1730. It holds 38 faceted paste stones that border a motif, set behind clear crystal. Behind the glass is a gold foil wheat sheaf, symbolizing everlasting life. The wheat sheaf is in front of a woven lock of hair, typical in Memento Mori jewelry. This piece weighs 1.8 grams and measures 28 x 13 x 5 mm.
The wheat sheaf symbol is based in Christianity from when Jesus Christ broke bread and gave it to his disciples during the Last Supper. In terms of Memento Mori pieces, it can also be considered part of the divine harvest which would eventually be reaped. This expresses the ending of life and the resurrection of the soul.
This type of jewelry was not meant for grief or lamentation. Simply, it acknowledged that death was inevitable. I love finding early pieces like these. It clearly meant a lot to the wearer as it’s swimming in symbolism and culture.
I offer layaway on most items purchased for full retail price. In general my layaway terms are 1/3 down and 1/3 in 30 days and the last 1/3 in 60 days. I am flexible so if you are interested please ask me and we can work out a payment plan that suits you. Items ship when payment is complete and items purchased or payments made on layaway are eligible for store credit only.
I always want you to be happy with every aspect of your purchase. If you are not completely satisfied for any reason simply let me know and we'll work together to get the item returned for a full refund. I guarantee that my pictures and descriptions are as accurate as possible. My goal is to exceed your best expectations!