As Birthday Extravaganza (More about this to come, but consider the whole month of March my birthday. I do.) time draws nigh, I have been spending a lot of time looking for just the right present. For someone to give me. Hey, it's tacky, I know, but BF and I have had present "issues" in the past, and he now insists on a list of possible things I would be very happy to receive. As you can imagine (um, have you seen my blog?), I like to receive jewelry. A lot. So all this birthday business is a great excuse to waste hours on Ruby Lane, my favorite vintage jewelry site. Again and again I return to Memento Mori or "Mourning" jewelry, specifically rings. If you don't remember, I wrote about mourning jewelry way back when. At my late corporate job, I tried to explain to one lady how awesome hair jewelry (jewelry either created with or containing the hair of the deceased) was, but it's a little hard to convey. A lot of skulls and memorial designs have been popping up; here are the most unusual:
Skull Ring, circa 1680 (!), sold by Robbins' Roost Antiques, $2600 (do you see the awesome skull tucked behind the crystal?)
Victorian Mourning Ring with Black Enamel and Seed pearls, sold by Drury house Antiques, $459: Black coloring meant that the deceased was married. Seed pearls were use to indicate tear drops of the ones left behind.
White enamel skull ring circa 1740, also sold by Robbins' Roost Antiques, $5000: white enamel on a ring conveyed that the deceased was either a young woman, a child or a virgin. I've read varying signifiers, but back in the day, most unmarried young woman should have been virgins and if they weren't, well, nobody should have known. Unless their father found out and that's why there were memorial rings in their honor.
18k Pair of English Gold Hair Rings, sold by CJ Antiques, $1050:
Rings like these featured either solely the hair of the deceased or a plaited combination of the deceased and the ring wearer's hair. Hair was also used to create designs in some pieces... I will post one when I can find it again.