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Mourning ring


Dated 1820

Gold ring, the rectangular bezel set with a braided lock of hair under glass in a black enamel surround, the hoop decorated with chased ornament; inscribed A.H Sutherland Esq. Died 20 May 1820 Aged 67

17 mm internal ring diameter; 4.7 g weight


Mourning ring: The distribution of mourning rings to the friends and loved ones of the deceased dates back to the fourteenth century. By the seventeenth century, the tradition of bequeathing actual rings once owned by the departed was superseded by the allocation of money in a will for the purchase of new ones for a given list of recipients. The rings were inscribed with the name, date of death and age of the deceased and took on various forms depending on the fashion of the age. Their distribution finally dwindled in the nineteenth century following the invention of the photograph as an alternative keepsake.