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Memento Mori ring
Late 17th century
Gold ring, the bezel in the shape of a young woman's face on one side and a skull on the other, enamelled white with touches of red, and set with a diamond, the shoulders of the hoop lobed and richly chased and enamelled, set with small harlequin stones
15.49 mm internal ring diameter; 7.06 g weight
Bought in Paris
Presented by Dr C.D.E. Fortnum in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897; WA1899.CDEF.F520
Mortality rates were high in the sixteenth and seventeenth century due to war, plague and famine and Memento Mori rings such as this example were intended to remind the wearer of their mortal state.
Scarisbrick and Henig, Finger Rings, 2003, pl. 20.3