In the late 17th century, a ribbon slide such as this one would have been worn as a bracelet or in the hair. The existence of memento mori and mourning jewelry predate this c. 1690 slide, but tribute jewels such this as mark the beginning of the business of mourning jewelry and the rise in popularity of elaborate hair work. This piece follows in the tradition of Stuart crystal, which was originally worn by loyalists to the Stuart monarchy after the the execution of King Charles in 1649. The first Stuart crystal jewelry featured either the likeness of the martyred king, a lock of his hair (for the lucky few), or a cipher of his initials under faceted rock crystal (hence "Stuart crystal"). Later pieces feature a foiled back with a hair ground and initials belonging to the owner or a loved one. This lovely rose cut crystal piece made toward the end of the 17th century is an example the next evolution of Stuart crystal, and was made in memory of a man (or woman) not the king. The slide features a background of simply woven hair, two cherubs jointly holding a crown above a skull (which symbolizes a connection to royalty), and a gold cipher reading "IF".
9k gold, rose cut rock crystal, hair
1.7cm x 1.5cm