Mid 19th Century Elegance: Forget-Me-Not Ring

September 3, 2010

Pearl Forget Me Not Ring 1862

Year: July 1862
Dedication: G.H (age 63)

The period of 1850 to 1870 saw a very common habit of the hair memento in rings hiding underneath the bezel itself. It is not uncommon to find a small compartment underneath a ring of this era with a twist or weave of hair.

Often, many people since have taken this hair out and had this compartment soldered over or replaced, but many still exist.

This didn’t simply relate to mourning, but also to sentimental rings, the top of the bezel often took the shape of shields or motifs with the sentiment appearing on top, be it a forget-me-not in pearls like this ring, a material such as diamonds or a statement written in enamel (such as ‘In Memory Of’). Fashion was becoming smaller on the fingers and larger around the neck and wrists, with the large navette styles and heavy enamelled bands giving way to this smaller and more functional style. Not to say that these pieces had disappeared entirely, however mourning was a daily ritual and the objects needed to be functional.

Still, the beauty of this ring isn’t obstructed in the least. It has beautiful Neo-Rococo Victorian floral gold work across the shank and the bezel surrounding the forget-me-not motif. Underneath is the obligatory hair compartment and this leans more towards the unique side of what pieces were made for the time.

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