Georgian Garnet Jet Memorial Ring Dated 1806

Mourning jewelry emerged long before photography existed, as a way to commemorate a loved one. Pieces worn before the mid-1600s were known as Memento Mori, which is a Latin phrase meaning, “Remember that you will die”. They were creative and beautiful pieces that reflected upon mortality. In 1649, King Charles I was executed and many aristocrats wanted to express their sympathy. They commissioned jewelry makers to craft pieces with a portrait of the king. This event caused a shift in the making of mourning jewelry. No longer was there just a focus on the inevitable, but there was now a focus on life on earth.

Memorial bands were made to distribute amongst close friends and family of the deceased, typically by wealthier families who could afford it. Often, the one who made the arrangements for this was the deceased, prior to their passing. They were stunning pieces, some with miniature portraits of the loved one, some with woven locks of hair. This piece features dark colored stones, worn during the mourning period.

This beautiful Georgian memorial ring features a cabochon oval garnet surrounded by faceted jet stones, all set in 9 karat gold. This is an early piece, handcrafted in 1806 in England. The garnet is 11.5 x 7 mm, and there are 20 jet stones each 2 mm in diameter. The ring face is 18 x 13 x 6.3 mm and the band width is 4.3 mm. The shoulders are aesthetic in their graceful nature as they swoop down from the face and form gold loops that connect at the back. The inside of the ring face reveals an inscription, “Jn Stevens died 30 Sep 1793 Aged 42 Mary Stevens died 23 Nov 1806 Aged 62”. This ring has been acid tested. It was made in a size 9.5 and weighs 5.0 grams.

This is a beautiful ring, perfect for the jewelry collector in your life, or a lover of the finer things in life. 




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