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.
This piece has had the hair removed. There is a sizing prong which has been added, obscuring an interesting inscription. It appears that the ring was given to someone commemorating "Rose Burges", and a partial date can be seen, which is most likely 1866. With simple but effective texturing decorations on both the inner and outer rings, it is a must-have for historic mourning jewelry collectors, providing a little peek into the past!
Size (cannot be resized): 3-3.5 with sizing insert
Weight: 3.63 grams
Materials: 14K gold
Marks: Inscribed: "..?.E.D. from A.M.D. Rose Burges, JU?/24-66-?" (partially obscured by sizing insert) Stamped: "P & T"
Condition: Very good antique condition; original hair has been removed, some adhesive particles still present.