Victorian Gold Pearl and Hair Ring Hallmarked 1859

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. 

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Item ID:RGL05638VA



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