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Memento Mori Jewelry - "Remember You Must Die"

Memento Mori Jewelry - "Remember You Must Die"

Memento Mori Jewelry, also known as Mourning Jewelry or Memorial Jewelry, is one of the specialized sections of antique jewelry that our customers find innately fascinating.

Memento Mori translates to "Remember you must die." And as such was a reminder of inevitable death and the need to live a devout life.

In the 16th century, skulls and coffins were popular design elements used on memorial jewelry (rings, locket, brooches), which often including an engraved message or the name of the departed loved one. 

By the 17th century, a lock of the loved one's hair was commonly included in the jewelry design. 

Momento Mori jewelry became especially popular during the Victorian Era upon the death of Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband). Queen Victoria dressed in black for decades creating an industry for beautiful mourning jewelry. Popular elements in the memorial jewelry design of this time were black enamel, jet, onyx, bog oak, gutta percha, and hair.

Hair jewelry is one of the most unusual and collectible Memento Mori niches today. And while all hair jewelry is sentimental, not all of it it is actually mourning jewelry. Frequently lovers, family members and friends would exchange a lock of hair as we do a photograph today. But much of the hair jewelry that comes to us today, is indeed mourning jewelry.

Visit our Mourning Jewelry collection.


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