...my dear friend

Delicate Victorian Mourning Ring in Gold with Enamel & Diamond, London 1852

Did you know that in Victorian times it was customary to give guests at a funeral a gold ring to commemorate the person who had died? The mourning rules of the society of that time prescribed exactly which clothes could be worn in times of mourning and also the pieces of jewellery that could be worn in times of mourning were subject to strict rules. This led already in the middle of the 19th century to a flourishing industry for mourning jewellery, which could be ordered even in high-quality form via catalogues. We are reminded of this by the numerous mourning rings that can still be found in many English families today, and which can usually be dated precisely because of the engravings, inscriptions and hallmarks. Often the issue of mourning rings was specified in advance in the will and the rings ordered while the deceased was still alive. In the event of a surprise death, the heirs would take care of ordering the appropriate rings. The British Library has preserved numerous wills in which the issue of rings was specified - and often the number was astonishingly large, sometimes more than 70 rings of the same design were ordered! The ring here is another such jewel, probably presented at a funeral service in October 1853. In golden letters before a black background we read "IN MEMORY OF" in strong serif writing. A flower, also in black enamel, represents a forget-me-not, the center of which is adorned with a diamond. The inside of the ring rail shows, next to the London hallmark, a delicate inscription: "My dear fried Hellen Flette /who died at 8th October 1852, aged 28". So we know that this ring was given to a friend of the deceased Helen - not a relative. The addition of a diamond makes the ring a rather expensive piece of jewellery, cheaper models usually set pearls or do without precious stones. It can therefore be assumed that the wearer of the ring was very close to her friend. Apparently she wore the ring from then on, as its dark enamel is worn and dull in places - only the leaves of the forget-me-not have retained their luster, well protected. We found the ring in London, the place where it was made.

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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.