Necklaces of course weren’t relegated to hair, and the pieces that weren’t display a union between the chain itself and the pendant it is attached to.

This ‘regard’ necklace and pendant from Barbara Robbins is an exquisite example of its form. From the hairwork under glass to the organic design of the gold work. Though clearly of its time, the organic design is shows an almost nouveau prototype in its nature patterns, right down to the gold hearts with flower designs that contain the stones. Much of this has to do with the transient art styles of the mid 19th century. The Neo-Rococo Romantic period is in full bloom with this piece, from the floral decorations of the gold to the basic sentiment of the stones.

The chain and heart design are a perfect union in this piece, delicate and never over balanced in their weight. It should also be noted that on the back of each heart where the stones sit are glass panels with hair inside. There is more than one type of hair on display in this piece, with the table-worked feathered hair on milk glass showing at least two colours and then the magnificent hair behind each of the regard mementoes.

Further Reading

> The Late 19th Century and Buckle Rings

> An 1876 Hair Ring

> A Late 19th Century Hairwork Ring

> 1888 Sentimental Hair Band in Original Heart-Shaped Box

> An Early Hair Ring: 1860 ‘My David’

> 3 Members of a Family Mourning Ring with Diamond and Blue Enamel

18K solid case and clasp fittings elaborately engraved and enameled, housing portrait of (yet) unknown sitter of watercolor on ivory with a small surface crack to the ivory. This piece came from a Maryland estate, and believed to be painted by John Wood Dodge, American (1807-1893).

What a magnificent and complete bracelet, with its clasp and hairwork intact. Pieces like this are truly individual, nothing can match or compare to it, because its materials and subject permeate every level of its construction.

Note the enamel to the back of the clasp and how the use of enamel was becoming fashionable for larger items of jewellery, after being pushed aside for the lines and art of the neo-classical pieces.

I could look at this piece all day. It’s a true work of art, there’s no other way to describe it.

Well, one more picture and I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day.

Courtesy of Sarah Nehama.

Necklaces of course weren’t relegated to hair, and the pieces that weren’t display a union between the chain itself and the pendant it is attached to.

This ‘regard’ necklace and pendant from Barbara Robbins is an exquisite example of its form. From the hairwork under glass to the organic design of the gold work. Though clearly of its time, the organic design is shows an almost nouveau prototype in its nature patterns, right down to the gold hearts with flower designs that contain the stones. Much of this has to do with the transient art styles of the mid 19th century. The Neo-Rococo Romantic period is in full bloom with this piece, from the floral decorations of the gold to the basic sentiment of the stones.

The chain and heart design are a perfect union in this piece, delicate and never over balanced in their weight. It should also be noted that on the back of each heart where the stones sit are glass panels with hair inside. There is more than one type of hair on display in this piece, with the table-worked feathered hair on milk glass showing at least two colours and then the magnificent hair behind each of the regard mementoes.

With neoclassical pieces, there is continuity to them and not just a broad period where different styles were mixed. Notice the increasing reliance on enamel work and its symbolism (blue: considered royalty / white: purity and innocence) as well as the placement of stones and the reliance of pearls. Shapes changed and evolved from the larger navette oval to become smaller and slowly more oval.

Hairwork became more popular than painting on ivory and when symbolism was used, it became part of the gold-work or enamel-work. Using the initial of the loved one was a proud way to show affection to a loved one, rather than alluding to a loved one in symbolism.

Notice the similarities between this piece and the other initial pieces of the late 18th century – their colour and materials. The use of pearls became more prominent and shanks and bands conformed to the shape of the finger.

This piece is quite heavy with its gold-work and very detailed around the shank.

Ring, Jan 4 1796

Ring, Jan 4 1796

This scroll-work is on an exceptional quality and the oval face itself is another interesting point. The curve to the face bows in at the middle, with the glass memento being highly domed, rather than flat faced.

Country: England
Year: Jan 4 1796
Dedication: S King, Jan 4 1796

1770 Garnet, Paste RingA wonderful antique late Georgian English, solid 9 carat gold (tests thereabouts) ring; beautifully made, with ornate shoulders, radially fluted basket-back head, and set with a deep red foiled garnet flanked by four graduated colourless pastes in silver settings.

This one actually fell through the cracks of my collection, as I’ve been buying more than I’ve been talking about over the past year or so (I’m doing it for myself and it feels so good). This one comes from England and shows all the signs of the Rococo period in transition.

Of note is the rosette shape to the bezel, this is usually a good (though rough) indicator to mid 18th century rings as well as the rather straight-edged band. The band brings it more into line with the emerging neoclassical period, which started to remove the excessive organic flourishes from gold work and follow more geometric lines (whilst presenting its business end within the artistry of miniatures). Do note that this band has sizing to the back and no dedication to speak of.

A nice little thing.

Sir William Ellis (1609-1680) Mourning RingThis ring is dated 80 (1680), and it is a memorial ring for Sir William Ellis (1609-1680) who was a prominent lawyer under Oliver Cromwell.

In 1654 he was appointed solicitor-general. As solicitor-general, he took part in the prosecution of Gerhard, Vowell, and Somerset Fox on the charge of corresponding with Charles Stuart and conspiring to assassinate the Protector (Cromwell).

Sir William Ellis (1609-1680) Mourning Ring BackThe style of the design in this piece matches the usual memento mori style of being a band decorated with the memento mori motifs in enamel around the outside. The Band was popular at this time, complementing the popular crystals of the time. Often, a blend of the two were created and will be shown in later posts.

Country: England
Year: 1680
Dedication: “Sr W E ob 2nd of Dec 80. ‘W’ hallmark

Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 Memento Mori RingThe exceptional quality and design of this piece is relevant for its place in time. The decorations of the skeleton, hourglass, scythe and shovel were still used in the 1740s, but not to the extent as it had been. This ring is a beautiful example of evolution in its art and the style it emulates from the late 17th Century. Compare it to the style of the piece above from 1680 and the similarities are quite deep. Artwork surrounding this piece is much more detailed and not as naive as it had previously been, note the skeleton and the level of the skull’s quality. Its style, having large depictions of the evolved memento mori motifs, is quite unusual, as pieces that would have the motifs tended to be small and set under crystal.

Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 Memento Mori RingDuring the period of around 1700-1760, there was a distinct change in the style of rings, but a clear evolution from what had come before. Shanks became more delicate, some imitating scroll work in gold around the edge with enamelling over the top and an inscription over that.

To indicate pieces from this time, the shank is often a good point of reference due to their variation. The popularity of the Rococo style has a lot to do with this, the greater the delicacy and intricate form of the shank, the later into its period it becomes.

Country: England
Year: c. 1745
Dedication: Ellen Savage ob 16 Oct 1745 at 83

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