This c.1900 mourning bracelet is made up of twenty banded agate beads linked together with gold fill wire and a two-sided photo locket. Each black bead is approximately 3/8" in diameter with a razor thin white band running through its center. The locket measures just shy of one inch from top to bottom and features blue enamel lilies of the valley on one side, and a black and white photo of a man on the other. Lilies of the valley symbolized a variety of sentiments in the Victorian period, but when used in mourning jewelry they signify the tears of the Virgin Mary. Black, representing lack of light, is the traditional color of mourning and was worn by members of a bereaved family for up to two and a half years after the loss of a loved one. There were four periods of mourning, during the fourth and final stage of mourning colors (including grey, violet, white and some shades of blue) were integrated back into the wardrobe. This bracelet was likely made for it's mourner during the fourth period of mourning judging from the use blue enamel. The bracelet measures 8", not including the locket, and can be fastened between the beads for a tighter fit leaving the locket to dangle. This unusual and beautifully crafted piece is in nearly perfect condition with no enamel loss or scratches to the glass.
To see this piece in person, visit our shop in Nolita, New York.