Friday, February 4, 2011
Good Mourning – memorial jewellery
William Shakespeare in 1616 declared that in his will that his daughter and wife should have rings stating "Love My Memory."
Samuel Pepys specified 129 mourning rings to be given away at his funeral. When it eventually took place in 1703 the social implications had been carefully considered, with the rings being ordered in 3 grades of different quality.
Take a look at this plaited hair bracelet on Henrietta Maria’s right arm in a painting of 1632. It is very unfashionable now to have a desceased's hair made into an item you can wear, though common in the 17th century. Howver, items made of hair were not always mourning pieces. Hair bracelets could include miniature portraits on ivory or a cameo and could be a memento of a living sweetheart or relative. Hair was used to evoke the missing person, being a part of them that could be preserved and left with the wearer for sentiment. Its use in memorial jewellery started in the late 17th century.