posted by boylerpf 2-7-2009
One type of Victorian jewelry that has always fascinated me is mourning jewelry. When Queen Victoria's husband died in 1861, mourning jewelry was very desirable. The queen actually wore black for the rest of her life! Jewelry followed a strict protocol wearing black for the first year and then, during the second, muted colors were allowed such as purple, muave, and gray. Elements used for the jewelry were highly symbolic...pearls for tears, the forget-me-knot flower for remembrance, a diamond for constancy and the list goes on. Popular materials used were bog oak as pictured above, jet, gutta percha, and onyx.Shown is a great example of the era..1875...Bog oak brooch . Pair of bog oak earrings with vulcanite base.The pieces produced were highly detailed and one could read them almost like a book! Don't you just wish these old antique jewelry pieces could tell their story?
This is a great article because there are so many types of vintage and antique mourning accessories, most of which I never knew about.
I sell Tear Catcher Perfume Bottle Pendants from the very early 1900's. These Victorian silver & cut glass Lachrymatory have a history even older than that.
The Old Testament of the Bible (KJV) references collecting tears in a bottle in Psalm 56:8 when David prays to God, “Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy Book?” The reference predates the birth of Christ by over 1000 years. Tear bottles were fairly common in Roman times, around the time of Christ, when mourners filled small glass bottles or cups with tears and placed them in burial tombs as symbols of respect. (Credit goes to Lachrymatory.com Copyright © 2003-2008, The Tear Bottle Information Site)
A very unique form of mourning jewelry during the Victorian era was braided hair jewelry. A lock of hair from the deceased was often hidden away in a locket worn close to the heart. Many brooches were made with the hair kept under glass to protect their loved ones in "another place". These items were referred to a memento moriwhich is Latin to " reflect on the transitory nature of life" or more so in our terms "be mindful of death".Not all braided hair jewelry was for mourning. Since hair was incredibly personal, women would braid locks of hair from their husbands or fiances as a love token. The braided hair bracelet circa 1860 is one such item. Many hours were spent entwining each hair to form the intricate masterpiece. Young ladies practiced this art much as they did when embroidering for samplers.An insight into a lost art. A word to the significant others and husbands...beware the woman with a scissors.
originally posted by boylerpf 2-8-2009