Learn about Mourning Jewellery

In Victorian England there were strict protocols for mourning the death of a family member, relative or (in the case of servants) an employer of employer's family member. They were particularly observed by the upper classes, but followed by other classes where the apparel and accoutrements could be afforded.

Mourning protocols were mainly applied to women, who were expected to wear heavy, concealing, black clothing, together with a black crepe veil, and a cap or bonnet.

Mourning jewellery completed the ensemble.

For a widow, there were three stages of mourning, covering a period of two years or more. The first period of mourning, lasting for a year and a day, was known as "full mourning". "Second mourning" covered a period of nine months, and allowed for a slight relaxation on the colour and style of garments worn, and for mourning jewellery. "Half mourning" lasted from three to six months and more elaborate and coloured fabrics such as grey and lavender could be slowly introduced.

Different rules applied to men, children and servants, depending upon their relationship with the deceased. more...
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Mourning ring, split pearls, black enamel on 15 carat yellow gold, Birmingham. Size H. Weight 2.1g.

A Victorian gold mourning ring, having a central oval polished panel with two hinges to the shoulders, elaborate engraved decoration to the scroll and tapered band, having a further hinge to the base to reveal an interior compartment with hair, mounted in

An antique mourning ring, 18ct yellow gold, hallmarked Birmingham 1867, presented as a low profile signet styled piece, with oval plaque of black enamel, with a seed pearl encrusted cross motif, flanked by tapering black enamel shoulders of geometric embel

Victorian gold mourning ring set with turqoise umarked, approx size K, 2g

Victorian gold mourning ring central hair plait panel surrounded by half pearls with fancy shoulders

A Victorian mourning ring, woven hair inlay, enamel and glass pearl border (2 missing), gilt initials; 9ct rose gold. Ring size M. Weight 4.3g.

An Edwardian seed pearl and enamel mourning ring, fully hallmarked, inscribed 'In memory of Jackie April 23 1908. Jan 18 1914'; Walt... An Edwardian seed pearl and enamel mourning ring, fully hallmarked, inscribed 'In memory of Jackie April 23

A Victorian gold and enamel mourning ring, the central shield-shaped panel with the lettering 'In memory..’ 18ct yellow gold. Weight 4.12 grams. Size N ½. Partial inscription 1852, Obt 63 Mrs Sarah Hems Obt 26 May. London hallmarks.

A gold and enamel mourning ring, Harris & Son, Perth, the outer shank inscribed 'Mary Pettipher...aged 13 1/2 years' 15ct yellow gold. Weight 2.95 grams. Ring size O. (Deficient three seed pearls)

A William IV 18ct. yellow gold mourning ring, the black enamel top panel relief set with five seed pearls and six small black stones, engraved detail to the shaped shoulders. Hallmarked London 1834 by W.E

Hallmarked 15ct yellow gold mourning ring, with enamel, pearl and diamonds, approx 2.3 grams, as inspected, hallmarked Chester 1857

Two gold rings, a 19th century mourning ring (damaged) and a rose diamond and 9ct gold ring. (2) total weight 6.9g

Antique mourning ring; set with garnets around central locket with plaited hair locket, in 9ct gold, size P 1/2

A Georgian gold mourning ring, marquise shaped, with a compartment of hair and painted decoration 15ct gold (tested). Engraved 'Mary Jenkin, Ob 28 May 1776 at 60. H. Hann Hawlyn Ob 25 Ap 1787 at 75.'

A Victorian black enamelled mourning ring, 15ct yellow gold, hallmarked with English stamps, detailed by a central shield panel of hinged form, inset with black enamel framing a single pearl, opening to reveal and small glass panel, to band further enamell

A Georgian enamelled mourning ring, silver and 18ct yellow gold, Georgian, dated to the enamelled band 21 May 1774, featuring a central old cut colourless stone, bezel set in a closed back of silver, fitted to a black enamelled band of gold.

Two mourning pieces. One a 9ct rose gold pendant in the shape of an 'S', inset with woven hair and engraved gold work, along with an 18ct yellow gold ring, set with paste stone and black enamel work to band.

19th century 9ct yellow gold mourning ring written in gold upon black enamel 'In Memory of' with split leaf design shoulders

Three gold rings; one in 9ct set with coral, Birmingham 1870, an antique mourning ring in (unmarked tests approx 14ct, reshanked) and a green and white stone cluster (unmarked teste 14ct). Size S, H & P Q. Wt. 13.3g.

A Georgian mourning ring, the marquise shaped plaque with carved onyx detail depicting a pedestal and urn, beneath a glazed panel, in 15ct gold, ring size M-N

A Victorian 9ct gold mourning ring, originally with plaited hair to the recessed band. Wt 1.2g

A Victorian enamel and gold mourning band ring with star-set halfpearl. (plaited hair non-extant); Birmingham 1885. (lack of an engraved dedication and lack of plaited hair suggests the ring May have been a stock item not yet presented)

Four various pieces mourning jewellery. Early hallmarked 18ct yellow gold and enamel ring; Y/G 'In Memory Of' locket; and two coral and garnet set brooches (1 as inspected)

A Georgian enamel mourning ring, the black enamel ring centrally set with hair locket fitting and chased gold decoration, the enamel band with inscription 'In Memory Of', engraved to the interior 'Francis Fowler Died 8th Oct 1824, Aged 77', in 18ct gold, r

A Georgian enamel mourning ring, with beaded edge and black enamel inscription 'Lady Harriett Gill, Ob. 26 Nov 1813 ' 35', with screw top ivory box, ring size L-M

A George III mourning ring, the glazed octagonal plaque containing plaited hair and seed pearls. Engraved on the reverse with 'James Penman, Died 9 Oct. 1789 Aged 51', engraved decoration to shoulders, mounted in rose gold

Georgian enamel and seed pearl mourning ring, late 18th century, the square shaped design depicting a neoclassical mourning scene in sepia beneath a crystal panel, within a black enamel border and seed pearl frame, mounted in rose gold, with inscription to

Two Victorian jewellery items, including yellow gold mourning ring; and 15ct rose gold and grosgrain fob connector. Ring with hair inset to top. Weight 4.8 grams (ring). Weight 7.6 grams (Connector)

A Georgian pinchbeck and enamelled mourning ring set with plaited hair and seed pearls inscribed for E C Slaughter 1802

A 19th century 18ct gold and enamel mourning ring inscribed Feb 1825

A 19th century 18ct gold and enamel mourning ring set with a pearl and two rose cut diamonds inscribed June 8/75

A 19th century 18ct gold shield mourning ring with plaited hair, the shank marked H. Steiner Adelaide

Antique Georgian gold, enamel and natural pearl mourning ring - Mr Henry Rivington died 9th June 1829 aged 68

A Georgian mourning ring, the 15ct gold ring with elaborate gold decoration and scrolled shoulders, centrally set with a blue enamel panel and single claw set old European cut diamond, with inscription to underbezel

A George III gold mourning ring in yellow gold set with seed pearl together with leather case

An early Victorian gold and enamel mourning ring, the 18ct gold ring having scroll and shell decoration highlighted with black enamel and having a central glazed section with hair inscribed to the interior