Mourning & Sentimental Jewelry
Layaway Available for Purchases of $200.00 or More
** MUST READ **
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:|
| MINIATURE MASTERPIECE ( Victorian Antique French Scenic Hair Pendant / Brooch ): In researching to describe the double sided hair Love Token memento (c 1840) I thumbed through Maureen DeLorme's “Mourning Art & Jewelry” for inspiration. You can imagine my amazement when on page 150 I came across a larger version, set in a photographic plate holder, of this exact scene with only minor differences. Since some of my pieces are featured in her book, with thanks to Maureen, I am going to share much of her description. The artist employs a variety of palette-worked method of cut-work, dissolved hair-work, etc., to create an intricate cemetery scene unbelievably full of memorial symbolism. The rays of the sunshine, made of golden hair, convey a happiness not normally seen in memorial art and the entire tableau exudes a joyful aura – in spite of its subject matter. The central tombstone is garlanded and two lovebirds are building a nest on the top, the male bringing the nesting female a twig in his beak, symbolic of domestic life, not death. The butterfly carries his soul to heaven. The shield leaning against the tombstone bears two flaming hearts – symbolic of marital love and passion. There are two torches, one burning with the smoke headed to heaven, the other holding three of Cupid's arrows. A faithful dog, symbolic of loyalty, reclines a the base looking up at the large oak tree representing victory and strength – no doubt attributes of his deceased master. A cypress tree and three dimensional Forget-Me-Nots complete this fabulous scene. The reverse bears two lovely plumes of his hair decorated with flowers, pearls and gold wire. Both sides are set on ivory plaques. They are in a fancy engraved gold plate setting with an old (Victorian) replacement C clasp closure and a ring/bale at the top. This is undoubtedly a Love Token worn by the wife of her gone, but not forgotten, beloved husband. Don't miss this truly magnificent double Miniature Masterpiece!
Condition: Excellent. Top part of gold wire at 7:00 on back is loose. All hair remains firmly attached. (Chain not included.)
| CHANDELIERS FOR YOUR EARS ( Victorian Antique Mourning Jewelry Hair Earrings ): These dainty and delicate Victorian Hair Earrings (c 1850-70) are fancy enough to call tiny chandeliers. They are so lovely that they may be sentimental tokens of love as opposed to mourning remembrances. The four independently swinging and swaying hair dangles are composed of triple lobed drops – more difficult to make then the usual table-worked tear drops. They have 14KT gold cones at the tops and caps at the bottoms. They hang from gold shepherd's hooks – all original. You can tell the the previous owners knew how how special these earrings are – preserving them in perfect condition for 150 years! You can wear them for special occasions and outshine even Scarlett O'Hara – wearing chandeliers as opposed to curtains!
Condition: Excellent. No fraying of hair. The brown hair of each drop is the same color, though some look slightly different in photos.
| BOUQUET FOR BELOVED ( Victorian Antique Mourning Jewelry Hair & Photo Swivel Pendant ): Plain as this Victorian lady may look, someone loved her dearly. Amazing skill and artistry went into the creation of this lovely hair work bouquet of flowers pendant (c 1840-70). Resting on an oval plaque of ivory, the flowers (including Forget-Me-Nots, roses, pansies and ferns) are formed of various shades of dark brown, light brown, blonde and gray hair – some with small central pearls. Probably a token of affection, the flowers symbolize love and devotion in the sentimental Victorian language of flowers. The swivel reverse side hold a hand tinted photo of the woman. The color of the close-up photo of her is most accurate. Both sides are set under beveled glass in a classic gold frame featuring rope twist wires and dimensionally engraved foliate accents at the top and bottom. There is a nice sized gold bale at the top. (The chain is not included.)
Condition: Excellent. The appearance of what looks like loose hair around the edging is caused by the beveled edge of the glass. The hair is all firmly attached. A few tiny pearls have fallen off, but don't show.
| TEARS FOR TWO ( Georgian Antique Mourning Jewelry Pearl Ring ): I am drawn to these Georgian Rings bearing pearls – representing tears frozen in time. This beauty has a central cabochon onyx stone (for masculinity) surrounded by a thin gold band and a ring of twelve pearls bezel set in gold prongs. Both are set in black enamel base with a gold band around the edge. The ring band is quite lovely with three black enamel stripes surrounding two hand chased gold stripes (tests 15KT). But what makes this ring really special to me is the inside engraving. It was made in 1823 as a memento of “George Aiden, died 17 Oct: 1823, aged 68”. I'd like to think this remembrance of a beloved man was passed along to descendants of Mr. Aiden who in the late Victorian era added the engraved inner ring band of a grand-daughter (10 years old at George's death) who must have been particularly close to him: “J.T.P. B. Oct. 11, 1813. D. Dec. 23, 1878.” Someone wanted to keep them close forever. One rarely gets such a history. Don't let it die!
Condition: Excellent. Some enamel missing from back of band consistent with age and wear.
| 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.
| GOLDEN CAGES ( Victorian Antique Mourning Jewelry Hair Pin / Brooch ): This interesting and unusual brooch (c 1860-80) consists of four oval globes of table-worked brunette hair, each enclosed in a cage of spiral gold bands (14KT) with gold caps at each end. Three small gold orbs hang from the bottom hair globe. The gold cages do a pretty good job of protecting the hair globes so you can safely wear this brooch. There is a the original C clasp closure on the back. It is rare to find this style of brooch with all three golden drops intact. A perfect object of conversation at your next luncheon or dinner.
Condition: Very good. Small frayed area along top of globe on the left.
| 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.
| 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.
SIBLING MEMORIAL ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Swivel Hair Brooch ): Engraved around the edge:
“S. A. Hockin, obt. May 29, 1854 & his Sister”
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.
|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.
MEMORY OF DEAR FANNY ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Brooch / Pin ):
I am particularly moved by the Antique Mourning Jewelry in my collection
bearing inscriptions. This stunning “In Memory Of” Brooch has it all.
The front is decorated with a large central bezel set bull's eye agate
surrounded by six realistic golden ivy leaves extending from their
entwined gold stems. Ivy represents undying affection and eternal live.
The leaves are completely 3-dimensional. There is a black enamel wide
band surrounding the leaves with gold edges and eleven gold ovals with
gold letters spelling “IN MEMORY OF” in ten and a star-like symbol in
the eleventh. The letters are in beautiful calligraphic style. The
reverse side is decorated with Fanny's hair on an opalescent milk glass
base and a glass cover. The hair forms a large curled plum with three
seed pearls at the base. Below the wave is a broken branch with multiple
leaves and a flower in the center. This is surrounded by a wide band of
gold (10KT tested) inscribed with: “Dear Fanny Died” across the top and
“Feb. 7th, 1864 Aged 28 yrs.” across the bottom. It has a C clasp and
intact safety chain. Someone loved Fanny very deeply to have engaged a
hair work artist to create such a lovely, touching customized memorial
Condition: Front – Excellent. Back – Good. The inscription is perfect. There is a small crack in the glass at 12:00 and “antique” dust inside. A length of gold wire has shifted and moved upward. (It actually looks better than the photos suggest.)
Size: 1 3/4” wide, 1 1/8” high, 5/8” deep including agate.
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!
Size: Huge – 2 3/4” long, 1 1/2” high, 1 1/2” deep.
THE HOPE OF SALVATION ( Georgian Mourning Jewelry Locket / Pendant ):
A haunting and prevalent image from the late 18th & early 19th Centuries
is that of a woman with an anchor. Dressed in idealized attire of the
Grecian style, far from pathetic, she is a female Atlas, bearing a world
of grief on her slim shoulders. In this polychrome, painted on ivory,
Georgian Locket the woman is leaning on a blue anchor and points up to
heaven. (c. 1790) In the background a ship at sea bravely sports a red
flag and red and blue banners wave from the masts. Though nautical in
theme, the loss of this loved one may have been from a number of causes.
The anchor theme always represents “Hope and Salvation”. The border
surrounding the Ivory Miniature is painted in a technique known as verre
églomisé – reverse painting on glass. In other words you take the piece
of beveled glass, turn it over and paint on the back. Once you turn it
to the front you have an image in reverse. The decorative border is
painted in gold and black enamel with a pale pink surround. The locket
opens from the bottom and contains a piece of purple silk. You could put
a photo or a lock of hair between the fabric and the back cover. The
metal appears to be rose gold plated. The large bale is mounted on a
hinge. This Antique Mourning Locket is a tangible touchstone from the
past – an age where grief and remembrance were an integral part of life.
Condition: Excellent. Over 200 years have produced some surface scratches and a dot of flaked enamel. There is a scratch on the ground at the bottom of the woman’s foot. A good sized locket that snaps closed tightly.
Size: 1 1/2” diameter, hangs 2” including the bale.
DIVINE REST ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Brooch / Pendant ):
Some of you have asked when I will sell any of the pieces from my
personal collection. This Victorian Mourning Brooch (as seen in
“Personal Collection” section) is so exquisite that to part with it has
been a very difficult decision. Being both a brooch and a pendant makes
it doubly desirable since pendants are scarcer than pins. This
magnificent Antique Mourning Pendant is rich in symbolism. (c. 1850-70)
It shows a sheaf of wheat, under a domed glass cover, perfectly rendered
in light brown hair bound together by four seed pearls. Usually a wheat
sheaf is a symbol of a divine harvest – often a gift for a bride since
it also represents fertility. In this case, however, the broken and
falling pieces denote the death of an elderly person. The iridescent
white enamel background reflects and gleams brightly over the
engine-turned guilloché. (Guilloché is machine engraved decoration on
metal over which translucent enamel is applied – a technique that
reached its zenith in the work of Peter Carl Fabergé.) The effect on
this piece gives the illusion of a sunrise or in this case a sunset. The
surface seems to glow with radiant and luscious color. The frame is
comprised of tiny seed pearls representing tears – all original and
identical in color. The setting is 14KT rose gold with the original C
clasp and a ring for a pendant bale. This is an exceptional quality
mourning piece that speaks to the heart. “Of all keepsakes, memorials,
relics – most dearly, most devotedly do I love a little lock of hair.
All else is gone to nothing.”
Condition: Excellent. A few minute pearls gone from center. A few gold wires are mixed in with the hair.
Size: 1 3/4" high, 1 1/4" wide, 1/4" 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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