One of our favorite passages relating to the use of hair in 19th century mourning jewelry comes from Godey's Lady's Book of 1860: "Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials and survives us like love. It is so light, so gentle, so escaping from the idea of death, that, with a lock of hair belonging to a child or friend, we may almost look to heaven and compare notes with angelic nature, may almost say: 'I have a piece of thee here, not unworthy of thy being now.'" This sentiment is all the more poignant when the jewelry in question memorializes a child. This beautiful mourning ring for Walter Spencer, who died at the tragically young age of 12, features and black and white enameled face with a weeping willow over a mausoleum. The black tomb houses a hair locket with a "WS" cipher and the mourning scene is framed by halo of seed pearls. The reverse side is engraved, "Walter Spencer Ob 17 Jan. 1815. Aet. 12."
10k yellow gold (tests), seed pearls, black and white enamel, hair locket
Dedicated in 1815
Very good - minor surface wear commensurate with age and use
9.75, can be resized for an additional fee of $90' 7/8 x 5/8" head, 4.4mm shank
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1714 — 1837
Jewelry made from hair allowed the bereaved to keep their loved one with them always.
It’s hard to pinpoint when modern-day lockets were invented, but it’s believed that they evolved from ancient amulets.