Victorian Banded Agate Graduated Bead Necklace

Lady Clara had spent the past 12 months in full mourning. This morning her lady’s maid kindly reminded her she could begin to incorporate a tiny bit of color into her usual black bombazine wardrobe. Half mourning was to commence and continue until the two year mark. Although her heart still hurt from the parting of her beloved Mr. Benjamin, she was glad to add a bit of color to her daily routine. Undoubtedly, she desired to attend social events in town again, aching for companionship. She traveled to Jay’s on Regent Street to customize her next mourning dress, they were the best, after all. So carefully she chose her jewelry, with just the right amount of white, and her fabrics, with shades of gray and lavender.

Handcrafted with 46 smooth spherical agate beads, this silver clasped necklace is a wonderful piece! I used to come across beads like this more often, but they are becoming a rare find. Necklaces like this gorgeous hand carved strand of black, white and brown banded agate beads were often worn during late the mourning period when a woman could incorporate white into her all black wardrobe. The long strand of graduated beads measure 9.4 mm in diameter at the back and increase in size up to 19.5 mm in diameter at the front of the strand. This necklace weighs 105.9 grams and is 22.5 inches in length. The clasp has been acid tested as sterling silver, but we couldn’t quite get to enough of the chain that they are strung on to test the metal, it might be brass, it might be gold, I suspect it is a later re-stringing which was done after 1900. This beautiful strand is in good shape, with only a very few small dings from it’s over 150 years of life.

Victorian mourning jewelry was worn by both men and women after the loss of a loved one. Queen Victoria lost her Prince Albert when she was merely 42 and stayed in mourning until her death nearly 40 years later; thus increasing the popularity of mourning jewelry, as well as memorial pieces.

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