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Maureen DeLorme's book, Mourning Art & Jewelry, published April, 2004. This stunning book is the only complete work on Mourning customs and jewelry. Many pieces from my personal collection are featured. (See Reference Books under "Links" for more information.)
Item: Description: Price:


RESURRECTION OF THE SOUL ( Antique Georgian Mourning Jewelry Pendant ): Our photos do not nearly do justice to this beautiful navette shaped Georgian Mourning Pendant. (c. 1780-90) In the first photo the lighting glare is on the sides and in the second at the top and bottom so between the two you can begin to appreciate the details. We see the grieving widow being comforted by an angel departing the obelisk tomb and pointing upward indicating she is taking the husband's soul to Heaven. The rays of sunlight mean he will be resurrected or renewed in Heaven. Part of what is hard to appreciate is the delicate details of the decoration of the 3-dimensional obelisk – tiny seed pearls, gold and silver studs and fine twisted gold wire. And the chip near the top is not just painted, it is an actual missing chip which can be seen where it fell to the ground below. The pendant is painted with sepia and watercolor. The trees and ground cover are enhanced with crushed hair from the deceased. The reverse has the gold initials “MA” and “CA” over brown palette-worked hair surrounded by black enamel. The pendant is set in decorated 14 KT rose gold and covered by domed glass. When you hold this pendant in your hand it takes your breath away!

Condition: Excellent. Two tiny silver studs missing and possibly two seed pearls. Chain not included.
Size: 2 1/4” high not including bale, 3” high with bale, 1 1/2” wide, 1/2” deep.



FLAMES OF LOVE ( Antique Victorian Mourning Jewelry Gold Photo Locket / Pendant ): Many collectors want their antiques to look like new. Well, this 15 KT Gold “IN MEMORY OF” photo locket (c 1880) does just that. The front is decorated with a black enamel peacock tail design holding the words “In Memory Of” with crossed flaming torches below indicating the flames of love still burn for someone who died before their time. The background is hand engraved with a textured pattern that sparkles. The back of the locket is also hand engraved with a gorgeous feather and flower pattern providing a shimmering background. The hinge and clasp work perfectly. Inside are two photo compartments – one empty and one with an old photo of a relatively young woman. The celluloid cover is missing over the photo, present over the empty side. The gold bale will hold any matching gold chain. Lockets are highly desirable. An unusual one like this is a real treasure!

Condition: Excellent. (Chain not included.) One celluloid cover missing.
Size: Locket 1 1/4” high, 1” wide, 1/4” deep. Total length with bale 1 1/2”.



TURQUOISE TREASURE ( Antique Georgian Mourning / Sentimental Turquoise & Hair Ring ): I have developed a particular fondness for the dainty and beautifully crafted Georgian Mourning Rings. This striking ring (c. 1820-30) caught my eye because of the rarity of seeing one made using turquoise – and a lot of turquoise! There are 17 small turquoise beads, gradually tapering in size and set in the 15KT gold band – plus one in the center of the crystal covered compartment holding rich brown braided hair. The gold frame of the hair is decorated with eight tiny gold beads. This may have been a sentimental ring rather than a mourning ring based on its colorful beauty. What an eye-catcher!

Condition: Excellent. The slight variation in the color of the turquoise is not a defect.
Size: Front setting 3/8” in diameter, 3/16” deep. Band tapers from just over 1/8” to just over 1/16” wide in back. Ring size is 6 1/2. Cannot be sized.



THE LOSS OF AN INNOCENT ( Antique Victorian Mourning Jewelry Enamel Brooch / Pin ): This lovely Victorian Brooch is so attractive that it can easily be worn in this era of black and white fashion. Oval in shape, the 10 KT gold work is accented with black and white enamel featuring the words “IN MEMORY OF”. (c. 1860) Since the use of white enamel is associated with children, the very pale and fine hair curls on the back indicate that this is indeed a treasured token of a lost new born. At its center an oval of jet holds a star with a single pearl – a tear of remembrance. The brooch is nice sized and domed in shape. Each “petal” sloops downward to give it a wonderful deep presence. The back has a glass covered compartment containing a baby blond hair plume with tiny seed pearls and golden wires. Probably English in origin, there is a C clasp closure and a loop that once contained a safety chain. A tangible treasured eternal memorial from the past to carry forward in time.

Condition: Excellent. White spots on enamel are reflections. A tiny, barely visible, chip in the “MO” panel. Tiny chip in edge of front glass cover at 11:30.
Size: 1 1/4” high, 1 3/4” wide, 1/2” deep.



ESPERANCE ( Antique Georgian Mourning Jewelry Painted Miniature Locket / Pendant ): I have had other sepia and polychrome miniature paintings of Hope, but never one in such a gorgeous large setting. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, when Britannia ruled the waves, thousands of women – wives and sweethearts of common seamen to admirals – had the constant fear that their man may not come home. This figure of a woman clothed in a Grecian gown, leaning on an anchor and gazing out at ships at sea became their symbol of Hope or Esperanze (Middle English and Old French for “Hope”) that their beloved would return safely. The large locket setting for this polychrome miniature painted on a wafer (c 1820-30) has a front and back covered by slightly domed glass. The underside of the glass front is painted in white with gold leaf wreaths at the top and bottom and a black frame around the picture containing gold leaf edging, three stars and the word “ESPERANCE”. The glass back covers the dark brown woven hair of her loved one. It is a locket with a hinge at the top but I would not advise opening it. The contents may shift of even fall out. The glass covers are set in a 14 KT gold rim with a large bale attached to the hinge. Another sample from my private collection. I HOPE you don't miss out on this eye-catching beauty!

Condition: Excellent. (Chain not included.) Small chip in underside of glass on back at 11:00 – of no consequence.
Size: Pendant 2 3/4” high, 2 1/4” wide, 3/8” deep. Total length with bale 3 3/8”.



MACABRE ALERT! (Antique Georgian Mourning Jewelry Lava Skull Amulet ): Macabre alert” was the call my antique shopping buddy and I would use when one of us came upon a piece of mourning jewelry in the memento mori (“remember we all must die”)category – a favorite of ours. Here in San Antonio memento mori art is commonly associated with the Mexican festival Day of the Dead. This Italian hand carved gray lava skull (c early 1800's) is undoubtedly an Antique Amulet or Talisman worn as a charm to ward off evil. It has remarkable detail for such a small skull – note the teeth. It is firmly held by a wire through it with an attached ring at the top. It can be worn but I would recommend it be worn alone on a chain around your neck since lava is not the sturdiest of materials. It is remarkable that it has remained in such good condition for 200 years. Someone must have treasured it. A rare addition for any Mourning Jewelry aficionado.

Condition: Excellent. Minimal wear.
Size: 3/4” high, 1/2” wide, 1/2” deep.



THE FRAGILE BEAUTY OF SEED PEARLS ( Victorian Mourning / Sentimental Jewelry Brooch / Pin ): The lace-like appearance of “seed pearl” jewelry was most appropriate and fashionable as bridal gifts. Often associated with romance or purity, these pearls were also representative of tears and occasionally used in mourning jewelry. I was so lucky to find this stunning Antique Seed Pearl Sentimental Brooch. (c. 1840-60) Jewelers typically used seed pearls imported from China and India. The tiny pearls were strung on silk or white horsehair and then attached by hand to a mother-of-pearl backing drilled for that purpose. Tiny hands and good eyesight were required! As to dating antique pieces, author Jeanenne Bell explains, “Because seed pearl jewelry was continued in the same manner for over a hundred years, the main clue for circa-dating comes from the style and scale of the piece.” This fine quality sentimental brooch has woven brown hair at its center with a very delicate gold wire twist surround. The largest pearls are set high above the smaller scalloped edging. There is a C clasp catch and extended pin stem on the back. The height of femininity, delicately crafted, this exquisite brooch will be a timeless center piece of your collection.

Condition: Excellent. One tiny pearl missing and a small abrasion on the glass. For the appropriate handling and care of a delicate piece like this brooch, put it on after you apply any perfumes of lotions. Refrain from touching the pearls while wearing or the acids from your hands will be detrimental to their longevity.
Size: 1 1/2" wide, 1 1/4" high, 3/8” deep.


ROCKIN' EARRINGS ( Antique Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Pierced Earrings ): I'm not sure I have ever seen Victorian Earrings (c. 1850-70) made in quite this style. Each has a loop of table worked brown hair with a capped globe of hair rocking back and forth within the loop. The gold fittings include a pierced ear hook – also unusual in design. One end is hinged and with a slight squeeze the free end locks securely into the gold cap at one end of the hair loop. (Put on with care.) These can be worn or simply admired as part of your unique Mourning Jewelry collection.

Condition: Very good. Mild fraying of hair near end of loop on earring on the right (see photos). One globe is slightly longer than the other.
Size: Loops around 1 1/2” in diameter, 1/4” deep. Globes around 5/8” in diameter. Length from hook 1 3/4”.



WEDDING WONDERS ( Antique Victorian Mourning / Sentimental Hair Wedding Bracelets ): Most of you who love Mourning or Hair Jewelry have seen lovely hair bracelets, but how often have you seen a mirror image pair? This is a very rare pair of Victorian Wedding Bracelets. (c. 1840-70) The mirror image curls (light brown curl on the right of the darker curl in one, reversed in the other) set on a brown silk background are quite simple in design, but are set in large, highly decorative brass frames. The two curls of the bride and the groom are tied together standing for the marriage tie. They are protected by celluloid covers. The frames are attached to adjustable brass bands. These Wedding Bracelets were meant to be worn over the dress cuffs – one on each wrist of the bride. These rare bracelets would made a wonderfully rare addition to your collection.

Condition: Excellent for age. Few light scratches on celluloid covers, mild wear and scratches on brass bands. Obviously worn by the proud bride.
Size: Hair compartments 1 1/4” high, 1” wide. Decorative frame 2 1/2” wide, 1 3/4” high, 1/2” deep in front. Band tapers from 1” by frame to 5/8” in back. Inner diameter adjustable from 6 1/4” to 7”.

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FAMILY TREE ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Locket & Link Collar ): It appears that the inside of this Antique Sterling Silver Locket represents a complete family tree of hair plumes. (c. 1880) This lovely locket & chain have both been jeweler tested as Sterling Silver. The shades of hair are beautifully worked complete with tiny pearls and gold wire coils. It may be a memento of a mother and her children. The front of the locket is fully engraved with ivy leaves and scroll work edging. Ivy was used as a symbol of immortality in marital love, fidelity and eternal life. The locket back is plain with a decorative border. It is paired with a collar (necklace) of pierced double row links that slide like silk around your neck. To put the collar on, you open the large spring ring at the center front and slide one end of the collar in. The locket can be worn alone by removing it from the large spring ring and adding a ribbon or neckwire to the silver bale. I would consider adding a back of neck closure myself. The inside retains its celluloid cover over the hair and a piece of black fabric on the other side. To discover an entire “family” of hair mementos is especially desirable to collectors. Condition: Excellent. Locket snaps closed tightly. No breaks in the links. Light wear – obviously by someone really wore and treasured this piece. You can feel the love. Celluloid cover has a scratch across it. Size: Locket and bale 2 3/8” high, 1 1/2” wide, 1/4” deep. Neck chain 17” long, 5/8” wide. SOLD!


MEMORIES IN MOTHER-OF-PEARL ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Brooch ): I am delighted to pass on to you this captivating Victorian Mourning Brooch from my personal collection. What can I add to the splendid photos of this incredibly exquisite piece of memorial jewelry? (c. 1860-80) The background is Mother-of-Pearl and shimmers and glints in pink and green as it is moved (impossible to capture in photos). The palette-work hair displays a border of light brown leaves encircling the most breathtaking initials delicately rendered in black hair. Be sure to notice the tiny black dots that surround the initials. Each “dot” is made from the black hair. (I am not certain what the initials are – possibly “JGB” – the “B” in the middle is generally the last name.) The combination of black and light brown hair against the M-O-P is striking and elegant. There is an almost lacy appearance to the hair work. The beaded 14KT gold frame is a luscious red gold. This color is achieved by adding a touch of copper to the gold. The C clasp pin back is original. This brooch is a masterpiece of skilled work and superb in every respect. Condition: Excellent. Size: 1 5/8” high, 1 3/8” wide. SOLD!


DIVINE REST ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Brooch / Pendant ): Some of you have asked when I will sell any of the pieces from my personal collection. This Victorian Mourning Brooch (as seen in “Personal Collection” section) is so exquisite that to part with it has been a very difficult decision. Being both a brooch and a pendant makes it doubly desirable since pendants are scarcer than pins. This magnificent Antique Mourning Pendant is rich in symbolism. (c. 1850-70) It shows a sheaf of wheat, under a domed glass cover, perfectly rendered in light brown hair bound together by four seed pearls. Usually a wheat sheaf is a symbol of a divine harvest – often a gift for a bride since it also represents fertility. In this case, however, the broken and falling pieces denote the death of an elderly person. The iridescent white enamel background reflects and gleams brightly over the engine-turned guilloché. (Guilloché is machine engraved decoration on metal over which translucent enamel is applied – a technique that reached its zenith in the work of Peter Carl Fabergé.) The effect on this piece gives the illusion of a sunrise or in this case a sunset. The surface seems to glow with radiant and luscious color. The frame is comprised of tiny seed pearls representing tears – all original and identical in color. The setting is 14KT rose gold with the original C clasp and a ring for a pendant bale. This is an exceptional quality mourning piece that speaks to the heart. “Of all keepsakes, memorials, relics – most dearly, most devotedly do I love a little lock of hair. All else is gone to nothing.”

Condition: Excellent. A few minute pearls gone from center. A few gold wires are mixed in with the hair.
Size: 1 3/4" high, 1 1/4" wide, 1/4" deep.


PEARLS FOR PURITY ( Georgian Mourning Jewelry Enamel, Pearl & Hair Ring ): The black enamel indicates this is a Mourning Ring rather than a sentimental one. The pearls surrounding the tightly woven brown hair under crystal represent tears. The use of hair is an intimate, personal and tangible memento of immortality in a very mortal world. I particularly like the fact that the hair and pearls are placed at a slant. Most are symmetrical. It has a 15KT (tested) gold setting with an open band delicately decorated with loops of gold descending in size. This ring (size 6) is most likely in memory of a girl or young woman judging from its feminine appearance. Just think! This lovely Antique Mourning Ring (c. 1810-20) is around 200 years old – and in perfect condition. I know one of you will want to provide a continuation of the centuries of immortality this ring represents - “pearls for purity”. A wonderful gift for a dear friend – or for yourself!

Condition: Excellent.
Size: Ring size 6 (can be sized). Ring head 5/8” wide, 1/2” high, 1/4” deep. Band 1/2” wide in front tapering to 3/16” in back.



TWO HUNDRED YEAR OLD URN OF TEARS ( Georgian Mourning Jewelry Hair & Pearl Pin / Brooch ): The workmanship on this palette-worked Georgian Hair Brooch (c. 1790-1810), particularly in fashioning the burial urn, is breath-taking! When first writing this description I went into great detail and the urn alone took 1/2 a page. So I'll summarize. The 3-dimensional urn is made of light and darker brown hair decorated with gold bands and gold orbs. The close-up photo shows it fairly well. What is hard to believe is that all that detail is in an urn only 3/8” tall! Amazing! The urn sits on a bed of grass made from hair and is placed on an oval of ivory with a surround and bow made of gold set with multiple tiny pink seed pearls. The framed urn is surrounded by intersecting “plates” of flat brown hair. All this has remained in pristine condition due to a glass cover – and loving care. The surround of the entire navette-shaped pin is made up of dozens (47 to be exact) seed pearls in a gold setting. The reverse has a glass covered compartment backed by tightly woven dark brown hair with a decoratively engraved 18KT gold setting. There is an old replacement pin stem and C clasp. Each pearl of this pin represents a family's 200 year old tears for a beloved member passed beyond. Help keep this memory alive and pass it on to a family member to cherish.

Condition: Excellent. The only flaw is the discoloration of a few pearls at the top caused by overheating from replacement of the pin stem.
Size: 1 3/8” high, 7/8” wide, 1/4” deep.



WOVEN WITH LOVE ( Victorian Mourning Jewelry Hair Brooch / Pin ): As I go through my large collection of Antique Mourning Jewelry trying to select this month's new postings, there are certain pieces I have great difficulty parting with. This is one such piece. (c. 1860-80) It is sooo beautiful! Assuming the blond young lady dressed in Victorian black mourning dress in the hand tinted photo on the reverse is the grieving wife, the brunette hair on the front – beautifully braided oval and central swirl – most likely belonged to her young husband – passed before his time. The rose gold setting with the gold chain surround encases the braid. The hair swirl is decorated with a fine gold braided wire and is backed with a beautiful iridescent enamel. This gives the appearance of opalescent fiery glimpses of orange and blue. The highlights are formed by the machine engraved metal beneath the enamel - seen in one of our photos. I'd like to think that the lack of any black and the beauty of the piece both mean the young lady remembers a very happy marriage. The front has a glass cover and the reverse a celluloid cover. There is a C clasp on the reverse and a ring for a safety chain. The rose gold setting is marked “9CT”. Wearing this brooch will not only be eye-catching, but will also help carry forth beautiful memories.

Condition: Excellent. One fine scratch in glass covering front. Two hairs out of place on the swirl (typical man). Please do not toss out the original photo should you wish to insert one of your own.
Size: 1 3/4” high, 1 1/4” wide, 1/4” deep


GRAVE REMEMBRANCE ( Georgian Miniature Mourning Painting / Pendant ): I tear up when I look at this lovely painting out of time – and read its inscription. Since Georgian Jewelry is relatively small, I'm sure this was initially a framed Mourning Painting (c. 1790) residing at the bedside of the bride to never be. The deceased groom to never be is forever reaching from his broken tomb for redemption represented by the laurel wreath held temptingly towards him by an angel. The three charming cupids up in the clouds represent the two lover's deep love, the weeping willow trees their grief. The piece is mainly painted with sepia ink, but the cupids are flesh colored with pink lips. The inscription reads: “He strove indeed to make them two but this nor time nor death could do.” A very special feature is the “grass” at the base of the tomb. It is made from hair – most likely her blond and his brown. My guess is that a caring descendant of the bride to be was so moved by this token of love that she turned it into a pendant that she could keep close to her. I like the modern look that the plain matt silver setting provides. It would look striking along with other silver chains or a pearl necklace representing tears. I just love it and hope one of you may feel that same love for it. A wonderful addition to a collector's treasure trove.

Condition: Excellent. Replacement Sterling Silver setting. (Chain not included.)
Size: Large. 3 1/4” high including very nice large bale. Setting 2 7/8” high, 2 3/8” wide, 3/8” deep. Painting 2 3/8” high, 1 7/8” wide. The bale will easily take a large silver chain, neck wire or string of pearls.


FRIENDSHIP BROOCH ( Antique Georgian Painting & Hair Sentimental Brooch / Pin ): I love the tender sentiment the painting and the hair on the back portray, as well as the printed sentiment: “Friendship the Fountain of Love”. You can see the colored watercolor painting shows a man and a woman holding hands in front of a fountain with a white dove drinking from the bowl. (c. 1810-1830) The printing is along the top. The colors remain quite vivid. The painting is mounted in a lovely 15 KT decorative gold frame and covered by beveled glass. On the back there is a small oval compartment containing a swirl of the woman's light blond hair over a swirl of the man's dark brown hair. These are not professionally produced swirls but most likely given to the jeweler by the couple. This compartment also has the decorative gold frame and beveled glass cover. I believe the copper plate at the bottom on the back is a clamp to hold the metal back in place and the small copper peg near the top is to hold it shut. I don't know if these are repairs of not. It has an old style safety clasp closure. This is a “Book piece” and I will include a picture and description from it but I don't know which book.

Condition: Very good. Possible repairs on the back.
Size: 2” wide, 1 5/8” high, 3/8” deep.


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