Victorian Mourning Jewelry

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Maureen DeLorme's book, Mourning Art & Jewelry, published April, 2004. This stunning book is the only complete work on Mourning customs and jewelry. Many pieces from my personal collection are featured. (See Reference Books under "Links" for more information.)
Item: Description: Victorian Mourning  Jewelry Victorian Mourning Jewelry Victorian  Price:


FABULOUS FRENCH FAMILY TREE ( Antique Victorian Mourning Art Framed Memorial Hair Wreath ): One rarely sees a Victorian Hair Wreath of this quality outside of a museum. (c. 1860-80) It contains various shades of brown hair and the names of nine members of the French Bernard Noblot family on small banners. The wreath contains dozens of beautifully formed roses of all sizes with pearlized bead centers, leaves containing silver beads and complex vines or tree branches made up of tight twists of hair covered with tiny loops of hair. The vines have opal bead tips. The wreath surrounds a cross with the stem of the wreath wrapped around it. Both are covered with hair paste. At the base of the cross is a silver colored silk bow with the banner for “Madame Bernard Noblot” on it. Just above is a large hair rose with the banner for “Monsieur Bernard Noblot” entwined through its leaves. You can see the names of the other extended family members on banners going up the wreath. It is covered by domed Celluloid in an oval black wood frame. It can be displayed by hanging it from the attached ring on the back or placing it in a decorative plate or picture holder. This is a true masterpiece in amazingly good condition. It can form the amazing centerpiece of your collection.

Condition: Excellent. Small tear in old paper covering the back. Every flower and bead is perfectly in place.
Size: Frame 8 1/4” high, 6 3/4” wide, 1 3/4” deep. Wreath compartment 6” high, 4 1/2” wide.



GEORGIAN JEWEL ( Antique Georgian Mourning Jewelry Garnet and Hair Brooch / Pin ): What a lovely and unusual brooch! The use of faceted, foil backed garnets to frame an oval compartment containing light brown woven hair may indicate this is a sentimental brooch for a living loved one – though garnets were used in the late mourning period. Whether mourning or sentimental, this Georgian Brooch has a cheerful appearance and is in incredibly good condition for its close to 200 year age. (c. 1820) Both hair and garnets are set in 9KT rose gold with the original elongated pin stem and C clasp. The brooch is slightly curved adding to its appeal. The glass enclosed hair makes it quite safe to wear. Don't pass up this affordable antique beauty!

Condition: Excellent. All original.
Size: 1 1/8” wide (not including pin stem), 3/4” high, 3/8” deep.



TURQUOISE TREASURE ( Antique Georgian Mourning / Sentimental Turquoise & Hair Ring ): I have developed a particular fondness for the dainty and beautifully crafted Georgian Mourning Rings. This striking ring (c. 1820-30) caught my eye because of the rarity of seeing one made using turquoise – and a lot of turquoise! There are 17 small turquoise beads, gradually tapering in size and set in the 15KT gold band – plus one in the center of the crystal covered compartment holding rich brown braided hair. The gold frame of the hair is decorated with eight tiny gold beads. This may have been a sentimental ring rather than a mourning ring based on its colorful beauty. What an eye-catcher!

Condition: Excellent. The slight variation in the color of the turquoise is not a defect.
Size: Front setting 3/8” in diameter, 3/16” deep. Band tapers from just over 1/8” to just over 1/16” wide in back. Ring size is 6 1/2. Cannot be sized.



WEDDING WONDERS ( Antique Victorian Mourning / Sentimental Hair Wedding Bracelets ): Most of you who love Mourning or Hair Jewelry have seen lovely hair bracelets, but how often have you seen a mirror image pair? This is a very rare pair of Victorian Wedding Bracelets. (c. 1840-70) The mirror image curls (light brown curl on the right of the darker curl in one, reversed in the other) set on a brown silk background are quite simple in design, but are set in large, highly decorative brass frames. The two curls of the bride and the groom are tied together standing for the marriage tie. They are protected by celluloid covers. The frames are attached to adjustable brass bands. These Wedding Bracelets were meant to be worn over the dress cuffs – one on each wrist of the bride. These rare bracelets would made a wonderfully rare addition to your collection.

Condition: Excellent for age. Few light scratches on celluloid covers, mild wear and scratches on brass bands. Obviously worn by the proud bride.
Size: Hair compartments 1 1/4” high, 1” wide. Decorative frame 2 1/2” wide, 1 3/4” high, 1/2” deep in front. Band tapers from 1” by frame to 5/8” in back. Inner diameter adjustable from 6 1/4” to 7”.



ETERNAL LOVE ( Antique Victorian Jewelry Hair Brooch / Pin ): This petite pin with three circular glass covered compartments of braided white hair from an elderly loved one. (c. 1850-70) My guess is that a younger relative had this pin made as a memento of an elder member of the family to serve as an eternal remembrance. The three hair compartments are framed by the coils of a 15KT gold snake – an age old symbol of eternity when the mouth holds the tail. This pin is unusual for both its white hair and its triple coiled snake setting. It has its original C clasp with a replacement pin stem on the back. The brooch is slightly bowed. It would draw appreciative attention when worn on your collar. Really a rare addition to your Mourning Jewelry collection!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 1 3/8” wide, 1/2” high.



RARE IVORY HOPE ( Antique Victorian Mourning Art Framed Ivory Figure ): I mainly collect, buy and sell Mourning Jewelry but this lovely carved Antique Ivory figure of “Hope” caught my fancy. The Bible in 1st Corinthians 13:13 says “And now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” The age old symbols for these virtues are a cross for “Faith”, an anchor for “Hope” and a heart for “Charity” or “Love”. I found this beautifully carved figure of “Hope” both lovely and moving. Notice her flowing cape and tiny toes. (c. 1860-80) Her hands are in the position of prayer. She is placed on deep red velvet over a metal sheathed cardboard disc fit into a gold metal sheathed oval wood frame. The inner lining of the frame is decoratively chased. The figure is safely placed under a dome of Celluloid. I'm sure there was once a cover over the back, and a large loop hanger, but someone has put in two small screws and a red string to hang it by. Loving large jewelry, I would probably add a wire and ring and wear it as a pendant. However you chose to display her, she would make a wonderful and unusual addition to any Victorian or Mourning collection.

Condition: Excellent. There is some wear to the gold metal frame which makes it look like antique gold. The backing is off, but could easily be replaced. The edges of the velvet are worn.
Size: Frame 4” high, 3 1/2” wide. Figure 2” high, 1 1/4” wide.



GOLDEN MEMORY ( Antique Georgian Mourning Jewelry Hair Pendant ): As Anne Forster looks down from Heaven she is undoubtedly very pleased that someone cared enough to have this gorgeous pendant made to honor and remember her by some 180 years ago. (c. 1833) I have a tear in my eye as I hold her memento and wonder what she was like. I would guess she was very beautiful like this pendant. Set in 15KT gold the front has a glass enclosed compartment containing her deep brown braided hair surrounded by black enamel “IN MEMORY OF” and framed by a setting containing entwined plain and chased gold roping. It hangs from a nice sized decoratively chased gold bale. The back contains a central disc engraved with “Anne Forster obt. 21 Oct. 1833 at 60.” surrounded by an intricately engraved wave pattern gold ring. I hope you will examine her hair with a loop. It is unusually beautiful – a deep rich brown with multiple reddish-brown strands and just a few silver strands. The pendant can be worn with the hair on the front or the back. Anne would be very happy if one of you caring collectors would continue to love and cherish her.

Condition: Excellent. (Neck chain not included)
Size: 1 1/8” in diameter, 3/8” deep. Hangs 1 1/2” including bale.



ROCKIN' EARRINGS ( Antique Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Pierced Earrings ): I'm not sure I have ever seen Victorian Earrings (c. 1850-70) made in quite this style. Each has a loop of table worked brown hair with a capped globe of hair rocking back and forth within the loop. The gold fittings include a pierced ear hook – also unusual in design. One end is hinged and with a slight squeeze the free end locks securely into the gold cap at one end of the hair loop. (Put on with care.) These can be worn or simply admired as part of your unique Mourning Jewelry collection.

Condition: Very good. Mild fraying of hair near end of loop on earring on the right (see photos). One globe is slightly longer than the other.
Size: Loops around 1 1/2” in diameter, 1/4” deep. Globes around 5/8” in diameter. Length from hook 1 3/4”.



HAND OF LOVE ( Victorian Antique Vulcanite Hand Brooch / Pin ): Hands holding flowers and wreaths were common motifs in jewelry, lithography and cemetery iconography. This Antique Mourning Brooch, made of Vulcanite, shows a hand holding a branch of yew leaves and a wreath of roses. (c. 1880) The Yew tree symbolizes sadness and immortality, the wreath of roses tell us of love and death and symbolizes victory of the deceased and redemption. A lot of messages in one hand!! The ruffled cuff is a nice detail. Hand Brooches are nice to have since they are so sturdy. We don't have to guess at the date of this Antique Hand Brooch. The metal plate on the back bears an English Registry Mark for May 18, 1880. It has its original pin back C clasp closure. A brooch like this one appears on Page 114 of Maureen DeLorme’s fabulous book “Mourning Art & Jewelry”. I wear several of these hand brooches at a time – often in combinations of black and ivory. Reach out your hand for this sweet and timeless expression of love and loss.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: 2 3/4” wide, 1 1/8” high, 3/8” deep.



PRETTY AS A PICTURE ( Victorian Antique Mourning Jewelry Hair Brooch / Pin ): I know from the black enamel around the woven hair on this brooch (c 1860-80) that it memorializes someone who has passed on, yet it is relatively cheerful in its appearance. Perhaps that is the way this person, “J. Fillebrown”, is meant to be remembered. The multicolored light brown hair is surrounded by a rich 9KT gold engraved frame on the black enamel which has a plain gold band around its edge. That gold is actually the setting for this brooch with the engraved name on the back. The hair is safely encased under a beveled glass cover which has kept it in excellent condition and makes it safe for you to wear. It has a replacement hinge and pin stem, but the C clasp closure on the back is original. I often wear one of these small Mourning Pins as one of a cluster of three for greater impact. This brooch is from my personal collection so now I am part of its history. Add it to your collection and then pass it on to someone you love.

Condition: Excellent. A few small dents on the back of the pin. Hair in perfect condition.
Size: 1 1/2” wide, 1 1/4” high, 1/4” deep.



RARE OPAL INSET ( Victorian Antique Mourning Jewelry Brooch / Pin ): It is a pleasure to offer you this lovely mourning/sentimental Victorian brooch featuring a smooth chalcedony background stone with a foiled back central opal stone. (c. 1870-80) Chalcedony is a family of minerals that are milky white to bluish in color. It gives a soft radiance around the gold letters “IN MEMORY OF” on the white enamel band. White enamel indicates it is memorializes either a young, unmarried woman or an elderly woman. The central opal, with its shimmering light blue color that looks different from every angle, goes beautifully with the chalcedony. The brooch is set in a scalloped gold colored metal setting. I don't know when the metal is since it appears parts of it were painted with antique gold paint. It has its original C clasp closure on the back. Sweetly feminine, this dainty Antique Mourning Brooch exhibits a refined timeless appeal that makes it as wearable today as it was a century and a half ago.

Condition: Good. There is wear to the white enamel and the gold setting has been painted.
Size: 1 3/4” wide, 1 3/8” high, 3/8” deep.



SIBLING MEMORIAL ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Swivel Hair Brooch ): Engraved around the edge:

“S. A. Hockin, obt. May 29, 1854 & his Sister”
“T. E. Petty, obt. April 4th, 1856”

I have handled a number of inscribed mourning pieces but this is the first I can remember memorializing a brother and sister. Having a brother I love dearly, I find that touching. This is not only a large and lovely swivel brooch, the palette-worked blond and light brown hair design on milk glass is in spectacular condition. Time and temperatures often gradually weaken the old glue's grip on the hair, gold wire and seed pearls so that many such pieces you will see have moving parts. Not so for this brooch – all are firmly in place. The front contains a single Prince of Wales curl and swirls of light brown hair (brother?) and an unusual lovely feather and long swirl of blond hair (sister?). All stem from a gold cuff containing 3 seed pearls with a gold bow at one end and a curlicue of gold wire extending from the other. The reverse is covered with tightly woven brown hair with a gold-leaf “chain” around the edge. Both surfaces are covered with protective, slight domed beveled glass. The brooch is in a gold-filled (gold over brass) setting made up of entwined gold “branches” in a broken branch pattern with with four applied engraved gold leaves. There is a replacement pin back with a tubular hinge and early style safety clasp. A spectacular addition to any collection. You will by noticed wearing this eye-dazzling brooch!

Condition: Excellent. Part of the gold leaf on the left is missing, but hardly noticeable.
Size: Total 3” high, 2 1/2” wide, 3/8” deep. Hair compartment 2” high, 1 3/4” wide.



GLITTERING GOLDEN BLONDE BRAIDS ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Pin / Brooch ): Judging from their Hair Jewelry, most Victorian's were brunettes, making blonde hair pieces the more desirable. This is a beautiful blonde Antique Woven Hair Brooch (c. 1850-80). The hair – protected under a beveled glass cover – is in an appropriate 14KT gold setting with an inner surround that looks like small nuggets of glittering gold. On magnified examination there are fine linear decorations and various depressions, but no regular pattern. Since there is no black on this brooch, it may well have been a sentiment piece worn to remain close to a loved one. There is a replacement pin stem attached to a plate of metal on the back with a C clasp. It must have been a very early replacement not to have used a safety clasp. Glittering Golden Nuggets surrounding Golden Blonde Braids – a lovely addition to any collection.

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Total 1 1/2” wide, 1 1/8” high, 1/4” deep. Hair compartment 1 1/4” wide, 7/8” high.



MAJESTIC MUSEUM QUALITY JET ( Victorian Jewelry Whitby Jet Brooch / Pin ): This outstanding Victorian Whitby Jet Brooch is stunning in size and decorative appeal. (c. 1860-80) The very finest jet ever discovered came from the cliffs around Whitby, England. Jet jewelry and small jet carvings were coveted souvenirs of a visit to this seaside town. The intensity of the black color made jet the perfect stone to reflect the deepest grief of Queen Victoria following the death of her beloved Albert. Quite grand in scale, this breath-taking brooch is superb in every respect. The top layer of the pin is an exquisitely carved “lover's knot” set on a platform high above the base. The oval platform is almost architectural in appearance – made up of waves of jet, multiple decorative perforations and buttons of jet at each end. This kind of carving could only be done by a master and given the amount of jet used it was surely intended for a wealthy client. Fifteen years ago I used to see large pieces like this and thought “how expensive!” Now rarely seen, most such pieces have gone into museums or private collections. This brooch came to me from an estate. It can be worn up and down or sideways. The extended pin stem fastens with a C clasp closure. I would advise wearing this on a jacket or coat – heavy fabric would suit it best. Jet is always majestic, elegant and sophisticated. Fit for a modern day queen!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Huge – 2 3/4” long, 1 1/2” high, 1 1/2” deep.


DELICATE DANCING HAIR DROPS ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Earrings ): This pair of lacy and delicate brown Victorian table-worked earrings is a lovely example of mourning / sentimental jewelry. (c. 1850-70) These dangling earrings may well have been a sentimental token of love and affection since they lack the severe simplicity of mourning pieces. The three tubular hair dangles have 14KT gold caps at both the top and bottom. They are suspended from a circular golden wire cage that contains a single round drop. The shepard’s hook ear wires are original. When you hold them up – or better yet – wear them, you can truly appreciate what an art form this passion for intimate and personal jewelry had become to the Victorians. The rage from mourning and sentimental had risen dramatically after 1850 (the sad loss of Victoria’s husband, Albert) and was considered by many to be a superior choice to the wearing of metallic jewelry. What a treat to have these “ear bobs” dance near your face with every movement. Move over Scarlett O’Hara and make room for the delicacy and refinement of these outstanding Antique Hair Earrings.

Condition: Excellent. Firm with no fraying, dangles retain their original shape. One of the ear wires is slightly bent.
Size: 2” long, 1 1/4" wide, 3/8” deep.

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