'In Focus' - Mourning Jewellery
Over the coming weeks and months our extensive team of valuers will be sharing with you some of the fascinating antiques that arrive on our desks on a weekly basis.
Today our west Wales auctioneer & valuer, Charles Hampshire, examines a rare survivor with a rather poignant story to tell.
"Mourning jewellery dates back to the early 17th century, possibly earlier, but became more popular in the mid 19th century particularly during the time Queen Victoria mourned the death of Prince Albert.
The piece 'In Focus' today dates to the reign of George II. We know this not only due to the style and materials used, but also due to the fact the inner shank is engraved 'Simon Taylor Esq. 11 April 1738 at 35'. The shank is decorated with 'memento mori' (reminder of death's inevitablility) motifs in black enamel to include skull and bones, an hourglass and a coffin.
A lovely, although slightly macabre, detail is the skull positioned under the hexagonal rock crystal. These motifs were used to remind people to live life to the full, which is a lesson we all should remember today.
This rare ring will appear as Lot 506 in our upcoming Selections & Collections auction taking place on April 1st at our Cardiff salerooms. Estimated at £600-1000, I am quietly confident these expectations will be left behind as my gavel falls."