Although mourning has been acknowledged through fashion for centuries, it wasn't until the Victorian Era that it reached its heights. Queen Victoria, upon losing her beloved husband Prince Albert, brought the attention of grief and outward displays of mourning into fashion. The custom was for women to wear heavy and concealing black clothing with long weighted crepe veils attached to their bonnets called "widow's weeds". Dresses were made out of dull black fabric. Jewelry was usually jet, as it was the blackest stone, and readily available. The period of full mourning lasted for at least one year. Some widows chose to wear black for the rest of their lives.
This lovely leaf-shaped jet brooch is a great example of the type of mourning jewelry Victorian women would wear. The 9 karat gold setting is superbly crafted in a subtle and discreet style. There is a tiny golden offset heart at the stem and a leaf with a seed pearl in the center of the brooch. Turn it over, and see that each element is backed with gold, and a small loop was included on the base, probably to display a dangling attachment, such as a charm or locket with a photo or a curl of hair from the departed loved one.
Dimensions: 44mm x 24mm
Weight: 6 grams
Materials: 9K gold, jet, seed pearl
Metal: 9K gold
Condition: Excellent antique condition