Georgian high carat 22K gold James Belcher 1804 ring
Georgian era English enamel mourning ring - by William Hall - 22kt yellow gold
Mourning jewelry was part of the wardrobe in the 17th and 18th century and it could be explained by the daily encounter with loss and death. Curable Illnesses such as the plague, smallpox, and tuberculosis were uncurable and often deadly back in those days. Many women died during childbirth and historians have provided the rough indication stating that around half of the children born during the Victorian era died before the age of 10. People were forced to be confronted with death on a daily basis.
Mourning jewelry started to enter society in 1649 when the execution of King Charles I of England led many loyal royalists to show their sympathies by wearing faceted Stuart crystal pieces (the King was in the house of Stuart) with the King's likeness underneath. A person wearing a piece that relates to King Charles I could dedicate one towards another and just by showing a commissioned King Charles I piece was enough to denote status in society and the sentiment between the two people could be solidified. Not long after the this, it became a trend for wealthy aristocrats to design their own mourning pieces when they lost their loved ones.
The popularity of mourning jewelry reached its peak during the Victorian era (1837-1901). The death of Prince Albert marked a dark spot in Queen Victoria's life. However, the love, loss, and grief were not only felt by Queen Victoria and the direct family, as the whole nation was in grief. Queen Victoria spent much of the next four decades wearing black crepe dresses and mourning jewelry. She commissioned portraits, memorials, and busts of Prince Albert and other mementos that were reminders of her deceased spouse.
This mysterious wide mourning ring is a piece from the Georgian mourning period. I can't help but imagine that this piece is commissioned for a woman who wants to wear an outstanding piece to remind her of a loved one she lost. By entering the name 'James Belcher' on the net, it allowed us to see a few stories pop up about James Belcher, but who knows who this mysterious man was?
22kt yellow gold
Inscription: James Belcher died 11 july 1804, aged 56
size 8 US
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