In perpetual memory

Victorian mourning ring with garnet & pearls in gold, Chester circa 1897

In past centuries, death was still omnipresent: life expectancy was low and the confrontation with passing was as present as it was inevitable. Jewellery had a deep symbolic meaning in this context. Its special role in the area of death, mourning and commemoration can be traced back to the earliest times. A multitude of rules and norms of behaviour were intended to alleviate the grief of the bereaved and to satisfy society's ideas of decency. According to the degree of kinship, the times of mourning were meticulously determined, during which special clothing was obligatory. The mourning clothes also included specially made jewellery, the forms and symbolic contents of which changed over the centuries. In the last third of the 19th century, for example, mourning jewellery was closely oriented towards other jewellery fashions and interpreted them in dark materiality, as the Victorian lady was also supposed to be fashionably adorned during the period of mourning. Among the most touching treasures from the past is English mourning jewellery - such as the particularly well-preserved Victorian-era ring shown here. Forged from 15-karat gold, the ring is designed as a simple band. The ring shoulders display an angular wavy band against a black enameled background. The oval ring head sets a blood red almandine garnet in its center, surrounded by a wreath of natural pearls. Pearls are often found on mourning jewellery, as they symbolise shed tears. An engraving under the ring head shows who is being commemorated here: as it reads "In Memoriam W.J.G. 1896". According to the stamp in the bar, the ring was made in Chester.

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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