1881 Opening Ring

July 14, 2010

1881 Opening RingYear: April 7, 1881
Dedication: “My Dear Mother” Anna Schrarn

As well as the fine etching to this piece, it has a front compartment which opens to reveal the hair memento. This piece almost completely negates the mourning art flourishes of the past, bold statements and symbolism is gone in favour of a simple ring with a personal inscription.

1881 Opening RingThe hair memento, when not used in a bold manner for the band (or inside) the band of the ring (look for more posts on this later next month), was often placed underneath the bezel of the ring in a compartment. Here, the reverse is in action, with a full hinged movement showing the hairwork inside. A gorgeous Neo-Rococo Victorian floral design covers the compartment and shank, etched into the gold work itself. But it is the compartment on the front that makes this ring truly special.

There was a need for rings to become more functional during this period and due to greater access to wealth and social movement in the late 19th century, combined with a high mortality rate, their availability and access was important and necessary for social custom.

Society and the pieces themselves relate well to this, as the cheaper late 19th century pieces are quite easy to find today, due to being produced in a time of changing fashion and the subsequent decline of the mourning industry.

2 Responses to “1881 Opening Ring”

  1. Shirley Says:

    Beautiful piece. Although the ring is more subtle in its intent, there is something quite moving about a remembrance ring that conceals its purpose – It’s no longer a question of a fashion, but emotion.

    • Beautifully said, Shirley! The very idea of presenting the hair of a loved one where others would often place precious jewels makes them far more special in my eyes.

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