How we mourn the ones we’ve loved is different for each of us. It is a journey in celebrating the life, passions and loves of the person closes to you. This journey in many cases over history has been through art. Many create statues, paintings and many times jewelry.
Mourning jewelry, historically has been a souvenir to remembering a loved one from life to death and was worn as a status symbol in the Victorian era. Many of the pieces made and worn as mourning jewelry wove in a lock of hair from the deceased and it was viewed as fashionable and a sign of affection in society which perceived it at loving and sentimental. The trend peaked during the mid 19th century, leaving us with beautiful, sentimental and extremely detailed pendants, brooches, rings and bracelets that have inspired many, including myself, to create jewelry that helps mourn the ones we have lost.
This enamelled gold mourning ring commemorates the death of Samuel Nicholets of Hertfordshire who died on 7th July 1661, as is recorded in the inscription inside the ring. The ring is hollow, and a lock of hair curls around within it, visible through the openwork of the enamelled decoration of skulls and coats of arms.1661 (dated) – © V&A Image and Description.
“Hair had long been important in sentimental jewellery, but during the 18th century it took on a new prominence. It could now form the centerpiece of a jewel, arranged in complicated motifs or as plain, woven sections. Tiny fragments of hair could even be incorporated into delicate paintings. Some designs were made by professionals, but many women chose to work the hair of loved ones themselves, using gum to secure their creations. Hair jewels were worn to cherish the living as well as to remember the dead. The survival of many pieces celebrating love and friendship indicate their great social importance. Brooch composed of a silver openwork bow, set with rose and brilliant-cut diamonds and pink sapphires over foil, and enamelled gold ribbon, also set with gems and inscribed ELIZ EYTON OBIT FEB 1754 AET 81, surrounding a hair locket” – © V&A Image and Description.
After losing my beloved poodle, Honey, I journeyed through the process of mourning my pooch of 16 years and found that the closer to my heart she was the easier it made the mourning process. I began starting a necklace that was completely captured the essence of Honey which incorporates her hair, nail and ashes. For the past 16 years, Honey didn’t only influence my life but affected every person that walked into my store (even sold a necklace right off her neck) and I knew I had to forever remember her in the most intimate way possible.
“Not a day passed in the 16 years in her sweet life that my little mascot and partner did not join me at work. With that cute smile on her face and inspiration in her eye she was always beside me keeping the energy light, the smiles flowing and a warmth in the air!!!”
“Here is Honey as my little supermodel… Who I might add sold this striking cameo necklace, priced at a mere $2500 the first day the postcard was received!!! Amazing!!!
“When creating this necklace to commemorate Honey, I used an era appropriate rose gold chain as the base of the design – Circa 1880, 14 karat rose gold handmade chain paired with Japanese Keshi pearls, honeys hair encased in circa 1900 clear locket, 14K gold, her nail wrapped in 14 karat rose gold, and her ashes encased in a glass vial dipped in 14 karat rose gold. An heirloom I shall always cherish and hold close to my heart!”