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Article: Mourning ring

Mourning ring

Definition and Purpose of Mourning Rings

  • Finger ring worn in memory of someone who has died
  • Bears name, date of death, and possibly an image or motto
  • Usually paid for by the person commemorated or their heirs
  • Specified in wills, along with intended recipients
  • Stones mounted on the rings are usually black, with jet as the preferred option

Materials Used in Mourning Rings

  • Jet was the preferred option, if affordable
  • Otherwise, black materials like black enamel or vulcanite were used
  • White enamel used on occasion, especially for deceased children
  • Hair of the deceased sometimes incorporated into the ring
  • Concerns about substitution of hair limited the widespread use of hair in mourning rings

Historical Development of Mourning Rings

  • Mourning rings date back to at least the 14th century
  • In the 17th century, mourning rings clearly separated from memento mori rings
  • By the mid-18th century, jewelers advertised the speed of making such rings
  • The style settled upon was a single small stone with details of the decedent recorded in enamel on the hoop
  • In the latter half of the 19th century, mass-produced rings with a mounted photograph became popular, leading to a decline in mourning ring usage

Resurgence of Mourning Rings

  • Mourning ring usage resurfaced in the 1930s and 1940s in the United States
  • Rings were made of bakelite and mounted a small picture of the person being mourned
  • Mourning rings have been made to mark occasions other than a person's death
  • William Skirving received a mourning ring in 1793 after being sentenced to penal transportation
  • Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom is mentioned as having a mourning ring

References and Further Reading

  • Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mourning rings
  • '7000 Years of Jewellery' edited by Hugh Tait provides information on mourning rings
  • Caroline Barton's article 'Mourning rings: portable and poignant souvenirs' on discusses the significance of mourning rings
  • Collectors Weekly features information on antique mourning jewelry
  • 'Rings' by Rachel Church explores the history and symbolism of various types of rings, including mourning rings

Mourning ring Data Sources

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

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