Rare 1880s Victorian Blue Enamel & Seed Pearl Earring & Brooch Mourning Jewelry Set
Now all but forgotten, the art of wearing mourning jewelry was once a common practice for hundreds of years. Popular in the time before photography, mourning jewelry was created to serve as a keepsake to remember a lost loved one.
Many pieces would include a lock of the deceased's hair or, later, their photograph.
During the 19th century, there was a strict mourning etiquette to guide the bereaved through the healing process. During the first two to three years of the "deep mourning" period, Victorian mourning jewelry was dark in color -- usually black. As one moved through the bereavement process, one's jewelry would change color to represent the different stages of grief.
This exquisite set is covered in a vibrant shade of blue enamel, which indicates that it was worn during the final stage of the mourning process, when colors were allowed to be integrated back into the wardrobe. It is set in a complimenting gold vermeil.
The brooch is inset with an intricately detailed golden dove perched atop two weeping flowers. The flowers are adorned with tiny seed pearls, which symbolize that the original owner of the set lost a child. Gold tapered tassels hang from the bottom edge.
The back of the brooch has a glass panel that can be removed so the wearer may insert a lock of hair or a photograph of a loved one. Brooch has a tube hinge and fastens with "C" catch.
Each earring has a single weeping flower adorned with two seed pearls and a seed pearl embellished flower at the top. Each has a similar tassel motif to the brooch. Earrings attach with kidney wires.
Width: 1 1/8"
Height: 1 3/4"
Width (at widest point): 3/8"
Some of the gold vermeil has tarnished or worn off. Could possibly be buffed back to life. One of the seed pearls has been replaced in the top portion of one of the earrings. There is a nick in the enamel at the top of one of the earrings. (See photo) Priced accordingly.