You’ll have to forgive this Jewellery Historian and Halloween fun. You know, when you deal with such a morbid subject 24/7, it makes Halloween quite a difficult subject to tackle, especially when one has to be respectful, so I decided to have a little fun with education.

No doubt, you’re all full from all that sugar, so let’s take a quiet moment to view this tremendous Regard pendant with chatelaine and necklace from Barbara Robbins.

Dating from the mid-19th century, note the symbolism in the design and hairwork. For those who aren’t familiar with the ‘regard’ motif, it’s the first letter from each of the stones present (ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby, diamond).

If looking at such a magnificent piece doesn’t make you feel better, I don’t know what will!

The Gothic Revival period of the early 19th century is an extremely pronounced period of obvious consequences in art and architecture, but also heavily affecting in morality and cultural lifestyle. It is a period that overlapped other forms of mainstream style to eventually become the dominant visual presence, particularly in memorial jewellery and had left its mark for the greater part of the 19th century.

Gothic Pie Crust Ring Mourning

Firstly, we must look at this emerging style to conflict directly with the ideals of the Neoclassical period. Thought the Neo-Gothic movement had begun c.1740, it took around sixty years for it to reach mainstream thought, a time when Neoclassicism was at its height.

Gothic Revival Locket

Much of this thought was a reaction to religious non-conformity in an effort to swing back to the ideals of the High Church and Anglo-Catholic self-belief. This was a time when heavy industry was on the rise and modern society (as we consider it today) was established, a time of radical change that challenged pre-existing ideals of society. Though there had been growing small scale social mobility from the late 17th century, the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw the middle classes having the opportunity to promote through society with the accumulation of wealth. Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, a designer, architect and convert to Catholicism, saw this industrial revolution as a corruption of the ideal medieval society. Through this, he used Gothic architecture as a way to combat classicism and the industrialisation of society, with Gothic architecture reflecting proper Christian values. Ideologically, Neoclassicism was adopted by liberalism; this reflecting the self, the pursuit of knowledge and the freedom of the monotheistic ecclesiastical system that had controlled Western society throughout the medieval period. Consider that Neoclassicism influenced thought during the same period as the American and French revolutions and it isn’t hard to see the parallels. The Gothic Revival would, in effect, push society into the paradigm of monarchy and conservatism, which would dominate heavily throughout the 19th century and establish many of the values that are still imbued within society today.

As we jewellery historians know, the best way to enact social change is through art and the stylistic affectations that surround us and influence our daily lives visually.

Gothic Revival Locket

Much of the latter 19th century pieces had their origin in this Gothic Revival period, the bold styles with black enamel as well as being larger accommodated the evolution of female fashion, which heavier crinolines and cuffs, seemed to be a perfect fit. Styles didn’t automatically become larger due to the Gothic Revival influence, much of the older styles adapted Rococo acanthus designs and incorporated Gothic fonts into the lettering of the dedication in the pieces, which emerged around the c.1800-1810. By the 1820s this style was influencing brooches, rings, pendants and lockets more and more, until the 1830s when it reached its height, particularly in terms of diversity. Through the 1840s it had become the standard and into the 1850s, there was the Hallmarking Act of 1854 that allowed the use of lower grade alloys. Reflecting this upon the larger styles of female dress, pieces could be larger and lighter to wear, yet still give all the bold, gold and black enamel prominence of the pieces themselves.

Gothic Revival Locket

Next, we’ll take a look at the Victorian society and how the Gothic Revival accommodated the culture and jewellery of the time.

Locket Courtesy: Marielle Soni

Often when appraising jewels, it’s easy to lose sight of their fashionable purpose, of promoting an aesthetic that is beautiful and enhances the nature of the wearer. This particular piece is easy to stand back from and simply admire.

Spanish sentimental pendant 1700

This particular piece is said to have its origins in Spain or northern Italy (possibly Milan), however, its composition is consistent with pieces on the Continent and in the UK for its time.

The regal nature of this piece, extenuated by the green and white enamel transcend the latter basis of symbolism and are used for the purpose of being opulent adornments to the hair memento underneath crystal.

Spanish 1700 Pendant Enamel

The fleur-de-lis pattern surrounding gives credence to the Continental flavour of the piece, but certainly the most extraordinary is the size, the use of the green enamel and the pearls which all indicate its source.

Courtesy: Sarah Nehama

Further Reading:
> Revisiting a Pearl and Blue Glass/Enamel Brooch: How Trade Opened Up New Possibilities in the 18th Century
> Louis XVI Royalist Supporter French Ring
> The Further the Distance the Tighter the Knot; Eternity and Romantic Symbolism on a French Sepia Miniature

Harriet Whitbread Pendant

Barbara Robbins is a wonderful seller and has a remarkable collection, what makes her pieces so special is that she cares about the history behind each:

Harriet Whitbread Pendant

“This is a large witch’s heart, measuring 1 and 1/4 inches North to South, not counting the bale, and an inch East to West. On one side we have the human hair of the beloved, and the words, set in gold around the heart read “Set me as a seal upon thing heart.” Please excuse the greenish cast of the gold on the blue enamel.   On the other side of the heart are the words: “Harriot Whitbread, Born 17th October 1733, Married 7th July 1757, died 22nd April, Easter Day, 1764. Around the side of the heart are the names of all Harriot’s children and their birthdates. They are: Harriot, born 5th April, 1758, Emma. Maria. Eliz 12 Sept, 1761, Samuel 18 Jan 1764. You may know that the Whitbread family started a well known brewery in the UK.”

Jean Petitot Louis XIV Enamel Pendant

I’ll let the brilliant Barbara Robbins speak a little about this beautiful piece:

“Here is an enamelled portrait miniature of Louis XIV, the Sun King. I bought it from Michele, and of course, she said it was in the style of Jean Petitot, but my friend, Simon Millard, was with me at the time, and he immediately spied it and he thinks it is a Petitot. Jean Petitot was one of the main enamelers of royalty (1607-1691).  Anyway, if this is a Petitot, of course a later frame has been made specifically for it, and of course, we do know that was sometimes the case.  The frame is what I love. I love the “bow” motif with the ruby, and the white enamel reads “Amez oui vous Aime,” or “I love those who have loved me.”  I imagine the back contained  a crystal and maybe some hair, but sadly that is gone. I believe, on my next visit, I will ask Michele to have her jeweler to cut some glass for the back.”

Jean Petitot Louis XIV Enamel Pendant

Clara Pendant

One of the more fascinating aspects of being a mourning and sentimental jewellery collector is that we’re blessed with having inscriptions and dedications in the pieces we collect. Unlike many other forms of jewellery, which may be discovered through manufacturer, style or material, we have an instant connection with the people who wore these pieces. This proximity makes collecting mourning and sentimental items closer to art collecting in sentimental intent.

Clara Pendant Back

This is why it’s wonderful when a collector discovers genealogy of a family through pieces. I’ve spent many hours trawling through census documents on the hunt for full family detail over pieces, and today’s research performed on a very wonderful locket is superb.

Clara Pendant Top

Of course, photography still exists in lockets and pendants today, making it one of the most resilient forms of change ever applied to memorial jewellery. The change that came about in jewellery to adapt to this new technology changed the face of sentimental jewellery and is arguably the single most popular surviving aspect of sentimental jewels today. Photographs are cheap, easily accessible (especially with the advent of digital printing) and where hairwork, or wearing the hair of a loved one, has become distant in many Western cultures, wearing the photograph of a loved one is quite common.

Clara Top

This particular piece shows exceptional engraving and a perfect balance between the photograph on the front and the hairwork on the back. Being a pendant, this takes its precedence from the turn of the century pendants with the open face and hairwork on reverse.

Clara Name Pendant

Research

This particular piece has a significant history. Owner and collector Sarah Nehama has researched the history of this piece and below is the product of this effort:
1. A copy of the death certificate for Clara Wilkinson. Cause of death listed as phthysis pulmonalis, or tuberculosis.
2. Page one of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
3. Page two of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
4. Page three of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
5. Four pages of Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
6. A postcard from 1880 showing the entrance to the Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston, site of Benjamin Franklin’s parents tomb.
7. A postcard from 1906 showing the tomb of Josiah and Abiah Franklin, parents of B. Franklin in the Old Granary Burial Ground.
8. Detail of of Melksham, Wiltshire, England, pertaining to Matthew Wilkinson, Clara’s father.
9. A picture of a stained glass window from All Saint’s Parish Church, West Lavington, Wiltshire, UK, commemorating Clara’s parents. Her father was the vicar of this church when Clara died.
10. Stained glass window from All Saint’s Parish Church, West Lavington, Wiltshire, UK,.

Dedication: Clara Wilkinson
Year: June 2nd 1851 – June 28th 1867
Courtesy: Sarah Nehama

For a collector of the memorial and sentimental, it’s quite common to find white, black and blue enamels, but when you find a contrasting colour, you have to take notice.

With this very early 19th century pendant, the gorgeous red guilloche enamel surrounds the hair memento and is generously surrounded with paste. In this case, the sentiment is purely love, red meaning passion. If you were to look at the hair inside, notice the elegant ribbon bow entwining the simple palette worked hair, almost as if it had been cropped off the head of the lover and simply placed inside (while obviously there’s a bit more work involved than that).

Due to the use of this for its sentiment and the tight weave of the hairwork in the back, this piece matches closely with other French pieces of the time, so it wouldn’t be difficult to make this assumption.

The Gothic Revival period of the early 19th century is an extremely pronounced period of obvious consequences in art and architecture, but also heavily affecting in morality and cultural lifestyle. It is a period that overlapped other forms of mainstream style to eventually become the dominant visual presence, particularly in memorial jewellery and had left its mark for the greater part of the 19th century.

Gothic Pie Crust Ring Mourning

Firstly, we must look at this emerging style to conflict directly with the ideals of the Neoclassical period. Thought the Neo-Gothic movement had begun c.1740, it took around sixty years for it to reach mainstream thought, a time when Neoclassicism was at its height.

Gothic Revival Locket

Much of this thought was a reaction to religious non-conformity in an effort to swing back to the ideals of the High Church and Anglo-Catholic self-belief. This was a time when heavy industry was on the rise and modern society (as we consider it today) was established, a time of radical change that challenged pre-existing ideals of society. Though there had been growing small scale social mobility from the late 17th century, the late 18th and early 19th centuries saw the middle classes having the opportunity to promote through society with the accumulation of wealth. Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, a designer, architect and convert to Catholicism, saw this industrial revolution as a corruption of the ideal medieval society. Through this, he used Gothic architecture as a way to combat classicism and the industrialisation of society, with Gothic architecture reflecting proper Christian values. Ideologically, Neoclassicism was adopted by liberalism; this reflecting the self, the pursuit of knowledge and the freedom of the monotheistic ecclesiastical system that had controlled Western society throughout the medieval period. Consider that Neoclassicism influenced thought during the same period as the American and French revolutions and it isn’t hard to see the parallels. The Gothic Revival would, in effect, push society into the paradigm of monarchy and conservatism, which would dominate heavily throughout the 19th century and establish many of the values that are still imbued within society today.

As we jewellery historians know, the best way to enact social change is through art and the stylistic affectations that surround us and influence our daily lives visually.

Gothic Revival Locket

Much of the latter 19th century pieces had their origin in this Gothic Revival period, the bold styles with black enamel as well as being larger accommodated the evolution of female fashion, which heavier crinolines and cuffs, seemed to be a perfect fit. Styles didn’t automatically become larger due to the Gothic Revival influence, much of the older styles adapted Rococo acanthus designs and incorporated Gothic fonts into the lettering of the dedication in the pieces, which emerged around the c.1800-1810. By the 1820s this style was influencing brooches, rings, pendants and lockets more and more, until the 1830s when it reached its height, particularly in terms of diversity. Through the 1840s it had become the standard and into the 1850s, there was the Hallmarking Act of 1854 that allowed the use of lower grade alloys. Reflecting this upon the larger styles of female dress, pieces could be larger and lighter to wear, yet still give all the bold, gold and black enamel prominence of the pieces themselves.

Gothic Revival Locket

Next, we’ll take a look at the Victorian society and how the Gothic Revival accommodated the culture and jewellery of the time.

Locket Courtesy: Marielle Soni

Charles II PendantNot a mourning piece, but certainly sentimental, this portrait of Charles II is a symbol of dedication to the crown. The symbolism is wearing a locket over the heart makes this piece important in its sentimentality, as it isn’t simply a portrait of Charles II.

This could be displayed or hidden beneath clothes, as the surroundings permitted. Match the quality of the piece to the ring of Charles I and see the similarities between the two, specifically in the style of the portrait. Both of these pieces, though from different times, were created for the same purpose in their devotion, and both are ideal examples of their time.

The exquisite example below from 1703 has gold wire cipher, hair and silk underneath the Stuart crystal. The motifs of the cherubs and the skull and crossbones are common for this time, as well as the shape of the heart pendant.

Clara Pendant

One of the more fascinating aspects of being a mourning and sentimental jewellery collector is that we’re blessed with having inscriptions and dedications in the pieces we collect. Unlike many other forms of jewellery, which may be discovered through manufacturer, style or material, we have an instant connection with the people who wore these pieces. This proximity makes collecting mourning and sentimental items closer to art collecting in sentimental intent.

Clara Pendant Back

This is why it’s wonderful when a collector discovers genealogy of a family through pieces. I’ve spent many hours trawling through census documents on the hunt for full family detail over pieces, and today’s research performed on a very wonderful locket is superb.

Clara Pendant Top

Of course, photography still exists in lockets and pendants today, making it one of the most resilient forms of change ever applied to memorial jewellery. The change that came about in jewellery to adapt to this new technology changed the face of sentimental jewellery and is arguably the single most popular surviving aspect of sentimental jewels today. Photographs are cheap, easily accessible (especially with the advent of digital printing) and where hairwork, or wearing the hair of a loved one, has become distant in many Western cultures, wearing the photograph of a loved one is quite common.

Clara Top

This particular piece shows exceptional engraving and a perfect balance between the photograph on the front and the hairwork on the back. Being a pendant, this takes its precedence from the turn of the century pendants with the open face and hairwork on reverse.

Clara Name Pendant

Research

This particular piece has a significant history. Owner and collector Sarah Nehama has researched the history of this piece and below is the product of this effort:
1. A copy of the death certificate for Clara Wilkinson. Cause of death listed as phthysis pulmonalis, or tuberculosis.
2. Page one of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
3. Page two of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
4. Page three of the Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
5. Four pages of Franklin family genealogy showing the relation to Benjamin Franklin through Clara’s maternal line.
6. A postcard from 1880 showing the entrance to the Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston, site of Benjamin Franklin’s parents tomb.
7. A postcard from 1906 showing the tomb of Josiah and Abiah Franklin, parents of B. Franklin in the Old Granary Burial Ground.
8. Detail of of Melksham, Wiltshire, England, pertaining to Matthew Wilkinson, Clara’s father.
9. A picture of a stained glass window from All Saint’s Parish Church, West Lavington, Wiltshire, UK, commemorating Clara’s parents. Her father was the vicar of this church when Clara died.
10. Stained glass window from All Saint’s Parish Church, West Lavington, Wiltshire, UK,.

Dedication: Clara Wilkinson
Year: June 2nd 1851 – June 28th 1867
Courtesy: Sarah Nehama

I was going to write about more about memento mori today, but with presenting such lovely and emotionally charged pieces like this, I think it’s time to cleanse the palate with this refreshingly beautiful sentimental Neoclassical piece with sepia on ivory.

Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre Mourning Pendant

Symbolism and beauty are two words to describe this French piece. The two birds (winged souls) tying together the knot of eternity and love as the ship is sailing away from the castle on top of a cliff face. The boat can be taken as a literal interpretation of sentimental distance, or as the passage of a soul towards the afterlife, however as the boat shows its passage towards the horizon, then one can expect that the symbolism falls into the latter. When combined with the eternity knot, the sentiment of love shows a love forever unbroken despite any figurative distance.

On the reverse, we have the very thick weave of the hairwork in a lattice, which is a style typical of many French pieces, as well as contemporary styles of the c.1780s – particularly in miniatures and large pendants. Of course, much of this is reliant on the hair available, as the industry wasn’t at its scale of the mid 19th century where hair was important and used in great quantities, hence often the hairwork used was at the mercy of what could be obtained.

French mourning pendant

When looking at a piece like this, one must consider the quality of the sepia art. Note how sharp and certain the lines are, there’s little area in the depiction for mistakes or parts where the attention to detail is lacking. The whole canvas of the ivory has been considered as to how to paint this piece, as is often the case with French pieces.

Along the Continent, the mourning industry wasn’t as ubiquitous; the higher the Catholic influences, the difference in the displays of mourning and the very different customs must be understood. Hence why when a French piece comes along, the general quality tends of often be higher, the same with much of the German pieces. There was a higher demand in England for mourning jewels to facilitate social convention, hence a greater output and much more variance between quality and style. One can discover an English piece with amazing quality or very naive quality.

So, note the waves and their individual undulating lines, note the attention to the brushwork where they grow thick to very fine, note how they change direction to show the coarseness of waves. Then the tree and how it interacts with the banner; note how the banner is curved along with the contour of the piece and the tree is nestled in quite comfortably underneath. From this, the individual leaves and branch are shaded, on a piece with gradients of one colour, this shows very high skill and planning.

I think the only the scale of the birds to the castle and and attempt at the rendering of the cliff face are the only parts which weigh this piece down (this from the cross-hatching of the cliff’s shading), but understandably the birds are primary focus to the symbolism with the knot, so the necessarily is understood.

That should be enough for today! Oh, look at that… Tomorrow is Sunday… I wonder what tomorrow’s lesson will be? Get ready for Symbolism Sunday, which may have something to do with the number 3!

Courtesy:Barbara Robbins
Country: France
Year: c. 1780-90
Dedication: “Le Plus Loin Le Plus Serre” – “The further the distance the tighter the knot.”

Besty Robinson Obt 3rd Octr 1809 Pendant Sepia Hairwork

Firstly, let’s look at the context of this piece. During the first quarter of the 19th century, the world was dealing with some of the most rapid social change with a scale unlike any seen previously. There is the emergence of the independence of the United States in 1776, colonial Australia, the French Revolution and the continuing Napoleonic Wars, new discoveries and uses for steam power in transportation and electricity began to influence rapid transit, industry was on the rise and of course, then there was fashion and art. Fashion became more and more elaborate to match a society that was relishing their individuality and status. Dandyism was popular with young men and ladies reflected the popular neoclassical styles that had been heavily influenced art, creating the ‘Empire silhouette’ and losing much of the heaviness and pomp that had surrounded costume in previous generations.

So, how does this reflect upon this pendant? Firstly, let’s look at the sentiment itself:

‘IN MEMORY OF
Besty Robinson
Obt 3rd Octr 1809
AE 28 Yrd’s
Affectionate Wife,
Mother and
Friend’

Sentiments like this, worn so prominently on the person, were simply not typical previous to the neoclassical movement. As this movement developed, with the increasing focus on the person as the important individual, rather than the purpose of the family as a group or the church as an idyllic standard of living, the nature of the individual became paramount and beautiful. Love became something to be worn prominently, as fashion. This is previous to the Victorian installation of the family as virtuous unit under the crown and god and it’s amazing to see what the difference of thirty years can make. In difference, this is almost hedonistic and rampant narcissism through the standard of living culture.

But, there it is, a very large, very personal sentiment that still resonates today as being an incredibly loving memorial to one’s partner. ‘Mother and Friend’ are also two very important sentiments with this piece. Speaking from the perspective of the husband, the term ‘mother’ is almost superfluous (unless the deceased passed quite early in the relationship without having child), as the expectation of the lady as a mother, at the very least, the latter 19th century ideal of the female as the matriarch of the family is a given.

‘Friend’ is the most touching sentiment here, I think. Beyond all else, wife or a partner should also be a best friend and here it explicitly states that. I am somewhat emotional just looking at the piece now.

As for the quality of this piece, let’s look at the sepia work to the font. Note the very fine calligraphy; it’s not at all rushed, but very methodical and is the art for one side of the pendant. Certainly not an inexpensive piece, even the little flourishes surrounding the font and the mixture of upper and lower case show careful planning. It’s a personal sentiment, as well, so it was certainly commissioned with the sentiment in mind. Do note the slant to the name against the ‘IN MEMORY OF’ – this may show that the ‘IMO’ was pre-written and the sentiment below personalised.

Besty Robinson Obt 3rd Octr 1809 Pendant Sepia Hairwork

Then on the reverse, we have the dual hearts, an eternity knot of hair, initials and the sentiment ‘THE UNION OF HEARTS CONSTITUTES OUR HAPPINESS’. There is somewhat a French influence to this piece, from the quality, to the size to the etching of the gold. Stylistically, I would lean towards this being an American piece, however, there’s not enough data to substantiate this as of writing. Nevertheless, the sentiment seals the love that is imbued within the piece, it’s an eternal statement about the person who wore it and I should think that such a firm sentiment is quite a rare one and puts us, as the viewers, in an almost intimate proximity between the two lovers involved with this piece.

Besty Robinson Obt 3rd Octr 1809 Pendant Sepia Hairwork

Overall, this piece shows us how far society had come and changed during the early 19th century. Today, we’re not so far removed from them, as society is still as volatile, borders are changing, more so than ever, we’re rampant consumers who parade ourselves in costume to the world and new discoveries are found each day, but at the end of it all, it’s love which defines us and binds us.

Tomorrow I take a look at how damage affects cost in jewellery and I hope you all join in on the Art of Mourning Facebook Group, where you can meet like-minded individuals, post your jewellery pictures and have a chat!

Courtesy: Sarah Nehama

Memento Mori Pendant Fob Silver Painted Skull EnamelOne of the greatest misconceptions and one of the reasons why the term ‘faux’ is applied to a piece of jewellery happens when there’s not a great understanding of a piece or the reason for its creation.

If the piece was made to deceive the person buying it by being constructed as a forgery or replica, then there is ample reason for it to be justified as a fake. However, many times, it’s a lack of the simple education surrounding the knowledge of a piece that can change the perspective of a dealer or collector and reappropriate the piece to be more realistic to its intent.

Read the rest of this entry »

Charles I Miniature Pendant with Pearl

I don’t think there’s enough that I can say about these Charles I pieces. To me, they represent the inception of an industry that certainly was on the verge of being one of the most culturally important movements in modern history, due to its cross-cultural pervasiveness and obvious necessity. Yes, I’m talking about the industry of mourning.

However, there is also the way that death was adapted by the oncoming industrial revolution and the inception of social movement. In some ways, the affectation of mourning speaks about the superficial nature of the human condition, with our fickle concerns of outward presentation and adherence to human-imposed social conventions.

Charles I Mourning Pendant Royalist Enamel Blue

What has this to do with the Charles I pendant on display here? The beheading of Charles I created a royalist movement that provoked society to adapt tableaus in dedication to the fallen king, with a disregard to the monetary context of the dedications – surviving portraits of Charles may vary in quality from the finely painted to the naive. However, there is quite an effort to present the man with respectful quality, regardless. This royalist movement was one that could transcend the socio-economic demographic and allow for the lower classes to express their grief/loyalty (even when the pieces were covered or hidden in lockets), as opposed to more insular cultural outlooks, which focused more on the immediate family/work paradigm without the greater social awareness. Communication was becoming faster, social borders were crumbling and the presentation of the self to this greater social audience was becoming more and more important.

Hence, when a piece like this was worn, albeit enamel side up (the pearl is a later addition), it still conveys a message about the wearer to the society around them. It shows obvious status and wealth.

Looking at the piece itself, Charles is looking off (not engaging the viewer) with sadness, hence its meaning as being a royalist piece is established (hardly the demeanour of a king still alive), the portrait itself, shows the face is painted to a pre-established ideal of the king and not painted in personal company with the man himself though the miniaturist has taken careful detail to shading of the hair and attention to the costume – often portraits of Charles would be closer in to the face of the subject. On the reverse, we have the blue enamel and this side doesn’t demand that the wearer turn it over to reveal the portrait. In this case, the portrait is personal and worn over the heart, while this enamel reverse can be presented with all the sophistication of class status that it deserves. If the wearer commissioned the blue enamel with the intent of royalty in the face of such a personal sentiment is truly the prerogative of the person who commissioned it, however, it is more likely. The piece is set in silver and retains much of the popular late Baroque design in the flower and enamel that would be expected.

And how does this all reflect upon us today? Well, essentially, it gives us all a great appreciation for the industry that surrounds us, but personally, I simply like to enjoy looking at this magnificent piece.

Courtesy: Barbara Robbins

For a collector of the memorial and sentimental, it’s quite common to find white, black and blue enamels, but when you find a contrasting colour, you have to take notice.

With this very early 19th century pendant, the gorgeous red guilloche enamel surrounds the hair memento and is generously surrounded with paste. In this case, the sentiment is purely love, red meaning passion. If you were to look at the hair inside, notice the elegant ribbon bow entwining the simple palette worked hair, almost as if it had been cropped off the head of the lover and simply placed inside (while obviously there’s a bit more work involved than that).

Due to the use of this for its sentiment and the tight weave of the hairwork in the back, this piece matches closely with other French pieces of the time, so it wouldn’t be difficult to make this assumption.

Charles II PendantNot a mourning piece, but certainly sentimental, this portrait of Charles II is a symbol of dedication to the crown. The symbolism is wearing a locket over the heart makes this piece important in its sentimentality, as it isn’t simply a portrait of Charles II.

This could be displayed or hidden beneath clothes, as the surroundings permitted. Match the quality of the piece to the ring of Charles I and see the similarities between the two, specifically in the style of the portrait. Both of these pieces, though from different times, were created for the same purpose in their devotion, and both are ideal examples of their time.

The exquisite example below from 1703 has gold wire cipher, hair and silk underneath the Stuart crystal. The motifs of the cherubs and the skull and crossbones are common for this time, as well as the shape of the heart pendant.

%d bloggers like this: