Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Disce Mori

Mourning jewelry mirrored the lives and times of the people who wore it. It was a souvenir to remember a loved one, a reminder to the living of the inevitability of death, and a status symbol, especially during the Victorian era. Mourning jewelry reached its height of popularity in England after the death of Prince Albert in December 1861. Queen Victoria went into deep mourning, which was imitated by her subjects when faced with their own bereavements.

In the United States the use of mourning jewelry increased with the outbreak of the Civil War. This coincided with the black jewelry used in England in sympathy with Queen Victoria's widowhood. For the first year, a woman who was in mourning was not allowed to exit her home with out full black attire and a weeping veil. Her activities were initially restricted to church services. But mourning attire was the perfect way to show the wealth and respectability of a woman.

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The earliest examples of mourning jewelry were found in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. Black and white enameled heads or skulls were often set into rings and brooches. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a status symbol to present mourning jewelry to friends and families of the bereaved.

I am particularly in love with hair brooches...beautiful jewelry in which one would keep a lock of hair belonging to the deceased.

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I am smitten by modern interpretations of Victorian jewelry. One of my favorite designers is Julia deVille of Disce Mori. If you love the Steampunk aesthetic, you will love her web design! Her work is not limited to jewelry, she also offer elegant leather gloves, spats, and taxidermy art objects!

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MargaretMeadJr said...

I was looking for examples of Victorian mourning jewelry to show my niece & found your blog.Lots of interesting items, well-explained, on a very beautifully designed site! Although I have to say regarding automatic writing- my mother did it for a while & actually used my watercolors & played 2 handed piano whilst doing whatever this is & she had never done either before- I could see the shape of her hand change when it happened & the way she held my brushes in a professional way, which is quite different from someone unaccustomed to using them. Where does automatic writing or painting originate? This one seemed to come from someone else, but who really knows? Anyway, thanks for all the cool info.

Melissa said...

Beautiful wing pendant - I want!

Subscriber Management System said...

nice post, and beautiful lady...