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Ring

2012.51.1 (RS157679)

Description

This mourning ring consists of a rectangular gold reserve that contains a gold filigree initial "P" atop a lock of braided hair surrounded by freshwater pearls. The bezel is set horizontally. The cast shank is embellished with abstract geometric patterns on each shoulder.

Details

Label
Filigree and hair ornaments placed under crystal were first made in the sixteenth century and continued to be made well into the nineteenth in England and America. Pearls were said to represent symbolic tears shed at the death of a loved one and are common on hair rings and brooches. The shaped, thick bezel backing of this ring, the horizontal rather than vertical orientation for the bezel, and the single shank with geometric patterns all point to a possible 1870-85 re-use of an earlier nineteenth century ring or brooch. Delicate gold initials set atop hair were a specialty of the Merrimack Valley area, but that regional attribution is speculative.
Maker
unknown
Date
ca. 1885
Location of origin
United States
Material
gold (metal)
human hair
pearl (animal material)
Object type
Adornment
Descriptive terms
gold (metal)
human hair
mourning rings
pearl (animal material)
Ring
rings (jewelry)
Dimensions
13/16 x 5/8 x 1/2 (HxWxD) (inches)
Accession Number
2012.51.1
Credit Line
Gift of Page S. Guertin
GUSN
265643

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