By the mid-19th century, bracelets adapted along with the evolution of costume. Voluminous crinolines and wide sleeves accommodated wide-weaves of hairwork and lighter, bulkier materials such as Jet to be worn easily at the wrist.

By 1854, the Hallmarking Act allowed for the use of lower grade alloys in jewellery construction, leading to a higher level of production of lighter clasps and fixtures in bracelets, many of which are very common for the collector to find today. Light materials, such as hairwork, when produced with the rolled-gold or pressed fittings led to bulkier designs being easier to wear.

It should be noted for today’s collector that hairwork does not equate to ‘mourning’, but was a sentimental material used in mainstream fashion, a misconception that many sellers automatically affix to pieces being sold today.

Note the evolution of the bracelet style from the previous century of the clasps seen earlier. This still retains a larger shape, but has adopted the Victorian Rococo revival motifs.

For those who visit this site and experience a new/different area of jewellery that is part of cultrual and social history, I welcome you and thank you for your time to read my ramblings.

Art of Mourning has been around for 6 years now and I’ve been collecting for a further 10. The idea for writing down my knowledge came about from my hope to educate, inspire and ignite a new interest in this wonderful area of social/art history to promote new collectors and even a new industry based around the culture of mourning and sentimentality.

This is a concept based upon love, not morbidity or the affectation of death, but love itstelf.

So, to commemorate the occasion, please click over to an interview with me at Collectors Weekly to discover a little bit more about myself, search through the archives of Art of Mourning or visit the parent site itself.

> Link: Hayden Peters Interview with Collectors Weekly

As usual with mourning, there is never an end, but a continuity and memory of everything before and we have much ground to cover. Keep reading, as there is much to come!

Read More:

Mourning and Sentimental Symbolism in Jewellery

Spotting Forgeries. Fakes and the History of Reproductions

Spotlight On: Bracelets

April 22, 2010

Mourning BraceletPopularity of the bracelet worked well with the neoclassical movement of the latter 18th Century. The size, and reliance on classical fashion, provided a good display for grand pieces upon the wrist. This particular bracelet has a large hairwork panel inside clasp with the pearls delicately strung from the clasp. Pieces of this time housed wonderful hairwork panels, miniatures and neoclassical depictions. These ranged from mourning to sentimental, but are all equally grand.

Note the intricacy of the table-worked hair and the floral motifs that are blended in with the gold. Also, the variety of coloured enamel is quite special, showing green, white and black.

Year: 1783
Dedication: “R Legard. July 1783, ae 34.”

Quite a wonderful enterprise is what Chris and his team are doing at herobracelets.org, I’ll let him explain:

“HeroBracelets.org was started for two reasons. First, we wanted to pay our respects and honor the members of the Armed Forces that had fallen in the conflict around the world. During the 2004 election, we saw politics get in the way of respect when the act of reading the names of those killed in action became a political tool to be used or repressed. We felt this was just wrong. We believe, that as Americans, we should all show our respect and honor those who have lost their lives in service to their country. This isn’t about politics. Whatever one’s political convictions or views on the Iraq war, or any way, respecting those who are in the fight should come first.

The second reason was money. We saw how little most of these families got, as little as $12,000 in death benefit. We decided that there must be a way to both honor these men and women and help get more money to their families.”

So far, Chris has made in excess of two hundred thousand dollars for families by selling these bracelets and herobracelets.org is really to be commended for it. A wonderful look at a new medium of mourning jewellery!

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