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1500 – 1900

Mourning jewelry was made for the purpose of remembering a loved one that passed and served as a symbol of mortality and the inevitability of death. It has been around since at least as early as the 16th century but became most popular during the Victorian Era when mass production made it more affordable and accessible.

Mourning jewelry became especially fashionable when Prince Albert died in 1861 and Queen Victoria and members of her court wore black and mourning jewelry for decades.

Settings & Materials

Made with locks of hair, white and black enamel, onyx, jet, and gold. Popular motifs were skulls, urns, weeping willows, initials and posey inscriptions. Sometimes the words Memento Mori can be found inscribed on the jewelry. Latin for "remember that you can die".

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