"Widow's Wail"

Antique 18K, Emerald & Enamel Mourning Ring

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  • Regular price $4,595.00

 Preserving a lock of hair in a piece of jewelry to commemorate a deceased loved one was a popular trend during the eighteenth century. Since human hair does not decay, it was a way to hold close a physical memento of a mourned person. The practice continued into the nineteenth century, when it escalated during the Victorian Era. Many of the pieces incorporating hair into the designs were meant as sentimental love tokens, and would be exchanged or given during ones lifetime as a show of esteem or fondness.

When Prince Albert died in 1861, Queen Victoria famously remained in mourning dress for the remainder of her life. The hair jewelry after this time was more often being produced as mourning jewelry. Elaborate weaves and plaits were sometimes added to the channels of rings, often secreted within a locket, and in the case of our example, hidden in a ring with a rotating outer piece that would cover or reveal the hair inside.

When this ring came to us, the hair under the ring top had been dessicated beyond repair, and we replaced it with a beautiful, bright green natural emerald cabochon stone. The black enameling is in perfect condition, complete with a memorial sentiment spanning the back of the shank. Inside, we find a sweet inscription and fantastic hallmarks, both dating the piece to 1881. A truly rare find, and wonderfully enhanced with the stone, it is sure to become the prize of some lucky someone's collection.

Details (approximate)

Size (can be resized with sizing beads only): 11

Weight: 8.1 grams

Materials: Gold, Emerald, Enamel

Metal: 18K yellow gold

Marks: IN MEMORY OF (enamel on shank); A Loving Husband died Oct. 21, 1881 (Inscribed); British Crown, 18, London Leopard, F (1881), Makers mark

Condition: Excellent Antique condition commensurate with age and wear