Mourning Jewelry




Prince  Albert

After the death of Prince Albert in 1861, the initial months of mourning were unadorned by jewelry of any kind. During this Victorian period it was the custom to be in mourning for a period of two years. During the first year only black was worn, in the second year other darker colors were acceptable, to include jewelry or gemstones of a darker colors. 

As mourning rituals increased, "Mourning Jewelry" developed and became very fashionable. Queen Victoria wore Jet Jewelry and Black Onyx items while in mourning for her husband Prince Albert, thus causing the demand for jet or jet like creations. Black pearls were in demand, as well as black enameling. Hair jewelry (from the loved one) was braided, twisted and inserted into rings, brooches and pendants, to honor their loved one who had passed on.

The wealthy of the period, would often set aside sums of money in their will, to have items of jewelry created and passed out to those attending their funeral, thus memorializing their life among their friends. Black was the color of this period, and was incorporated into most mourning jewelry, as it reflected the mood of England and the world as they mourned the death of Prince Albert.


Walt Tofel


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