Victorian Pearl Ring
9 carat Victorian Mourning Ring holding a braid of hair enclosed behind crystal.
Circa 1890. Size 8.
Mourning jewelry was customized as a remembrance of a specific person.
No single period has seen such a diverse group of jewelry attributed to it than the Victorian era. The jewelry is named after Queen Victoria, whose reign lasted from 1837 to 1901. During this time, different styles of fashion and jewelry came and went.
With the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victorias first and only love. Her taste for jewelry reflected her deep sorrow. This period is most often related to mourning jewelry. While it first came during the Georgian Period, mourning jewelry had a resurgence during this time.
Victorian mourning jewelry was romantic, a way to honor the memory of the departed. Most materials used were black, the universal signifier of grief. The most popular stones were onyx, jet, dark red garnets and black enamel were often used in combination. Some pieces were made with strands from various family members woven into a complex pattern.
Victorian Hair Jewelry
Jewelry that contained locks of a loved one’s hair – was particularly popular during the Victorian era. They believed that hair had a sacred quality because it contained something of the essence of the person. And because it was somewhat imperishable, it also symbolized immortality. Death was a constant companion in the Victorian era. Mourning jewelry brought a little solace to the survivors who had to cope with frequent losses.