Stunning mourning jewelry to adore

1 Stunning mourning jewelry to adore

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    What do you think about mourning jewelry? In the Netherlands, it becomes more and more popular to press the ashes of a loved one into a small diamond and set that in a jewel. Or use hair in mourning jewelry as a remembrance of the one who passes away.

    We know the tradition of wearing the wedding ring of your deceased partner next to your own wedding ring, but using ashes or hair is a bit new in the Netherlands.

    So curious as I am I start to search for other examples of mourning jewelry and it seems that this custom is rather old. Let me tell you what I found out.

    Mourning jewelry, made of hair from the Romanov family / Russia
    Mourning jewelry, made of hair from the Romanov family / Russia
    Mourning jewelry, made of hair from the Romanov family / Russia
    Mourning jewelry, made of hair from the Romanov family / Russia

    Mourning jewelry during times

    From the Middle Ages in Europe mourning jewelry is worn. Most of the time it is a piece of hair set into a pendant for a necklace or a memory ring when a king dies (King Charles I of England). But also Queen Victoria, Napoleon de Bonaparte, or Admiral Nelson owns memory mourning jewelry.

    Mourning jewelry during the Georgian Period

    In the Georgian Period in England, which lasted from 1714 to 1837 the special remembrance jewelry had dark and a bit macabre themes, like skeletons, coffins and gravediggers. And the color black was introduced for this type of jewelry.

    The jewelry was designed and produced as a reminder of the fact that death can not be avoided, it is a part of life. So you better live that one life to the full and don’t waste time. It is also called ‘memento mori’ jewelry.

    In the Victorian Times…

    The death motifs of the Georgian Period changed in the Victorian Age. Mourning jewelry was a memory of the deceased and the motifs were about grieving. In jewelry, they used willow branches, dark clouds, helping angels, or the initials of your loved one, to express grief and have a dear memory for comfort.

    The dress code when you were in mourning was strict, especially for women. The first two to three years after the death of your husband or very close family you only could wear black clothing (‘deep mourning stage’). After that period you could wear dark colors instead of black. The black color was used for making jewelry too.

    In the Netherlands, the traditional people wore black clothing and jewelry, also for two to three years, especially when their husband died. I know a story that a lady got a garnet necklace as a wedding present from her husband. She was very keen on it and loved the color.

    But after the death of her husband, she could not wear it anymore, because of the color. With pain in her heart, she gave the treasure to her eldest daughter and bought black jet jewelry to wear.

    Traditional Dutch lady with black jet mourning necklace.
    Traditional Dutch lady with black jet mourning necklace.
    Black jet necklace mourning jewelry
    black-jet-mourning-necklace

    Queen makes mourning jewelry popular

    Queen Victoria is one of the first persons in the Victorian Period that wears mourning jewelry made from hair. Hair is popular to use in mourning jewelry because it has chemicals that make it possible that hair does not decay and keeps its substance for ages and ages. And hair is so personal that keeping it in your mourning jewelry feels like the diseased person is always with you.

    Making mourning jewelry with hair is a blessing in the sky for the old wig makers that don’t get any work after the popularity of wearing wigs declines. In the Victorian Period, you cannot be seen with a powdered wig, without looking ridiculous. While in the 17th and 18th centuries you really cannot leave your home without one. That is… when you are of ‘noble blood’.

    Lady wearing a necklace made of hair, 1830-1840
    Lady wearing a necklace made of hair, 1830-1840
    Handkerchief embroidered with human hair
    Handkerchief embroidered with human hair

    … But only for the well to do class.

    Hair artists and goldsmiths create little miracles with hair, gold, gemstones, and pearls. These pieces of jewelry are very expensive. Around the middle of the Victorian Period, some tutorials are available for the lesser gods around the goldsmiths. They make lesser expensive mourning jewelry that becomes available for the lower classes too.

    Some of the hair jewelry is made from braids or pieces of hair the artists buy from poor women, but most of the used hair comes from family, friends, and the deceased persons themselves.

    jewelry of hair becomes fashion.

    In the 19th-century women start to make their own hair jewelry or mourning jewelry at home. In America, there is a magazine with patterns and guidelines on how to make a hair jewel. Most of the women can not afford expensive findings so they use wooden beads covered with hair and beaded on a string of hair.

    There is a reason for the uprising of the home hair-making industry. Because you never know for sure whether the goldsmith really uses the hair from your loved one. And making it yourself is a better choice when you don’t trust someone to do it for you.

    The brooch is made of gold and hair.
    The brooch is made of gold and hair.
    Detail of necklace, made by the hair from the Romanov family.
    Detail of necklace, made by the hair from the Romanov family.

    Russian mourning jewelry

    On an exhibition in the Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam, there are a few pieces of this type of jewelry on display that are owned by Russian noblemen and the family of the Russian Tsar. Impressive brooches, necklaces, and even embroidered handkerchieves as mourning jewelry are seen there. Just have a look at the images in this blog post and I bet that you must admit that these hair jewels and mourning jewelry are exquisite.

    Mourning jewelry is a very exceptional type of jewelry. This type of jewelry nowadays is not to be seen so much, or maybe you don’t know that a certain pendant is the former wedding ring of a husband. Still, a lady wants to look beautiful and to feel great. But do you know what kind of jewelry looks best on you? What type of necklace makes you look best. What earrings match perfectly with your eyes?

    To make it short: do you know what jewelry accentuates your best features? I’ll bet you have so many questions about this subject. And FlorenceJewelshop published a practical PDF where you can find all the answers. And in case you cannot find your answer you can email me and I help you out (https://florencejewelshop.com/contact/)

    The PDF is free of charge. Just let me know where I can send it to.

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