Mourning Ring with Miniature Portrait

Collection Type

  • Jewelry






Gold ring set with circular miniature painting on ivory of a woman in classical dress leaning on an urn.


Descriptive Terms

mourning rings
miniatures (paintings)
gold (metal)
ivory (tooth component)
Ornament, Mourning
Ring, Mourning
Ring, Mourning


This ring memorializes Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744-1775), who died at the age of thirty-one at sea on his way back from pleading the patriots' cause in England. The ring was probably commissioned by a close family member after his death, or possibly even by Josiah himself. The inscription reads “Oh! Save My Country,” which were purportedly Josiah's last words. According to a biography of Josiah Quincy Jr. that was probably written by his granddaughter, Eliza Susan Quincy. Josiah's father, Colonel Josiah Quincy, wore this ring throughout his life, and in his will, dated 1784, it is mentioned: 'I bequeath to my grandson, Josiah Quincy, my mourning ring, given me by his dear father, wishing the motto engraved upon it may never be forgotten or neglected by him.'. The ring is now on display at the Quincy House in Quincy, Massachusetts.


Band: "JOSIAH QUINCY Jun Esq 26 Ob. Apr. 1775 AE. 31" Back:" "Oh! Save / My / Country"" Bezel: We're his Last" (Engraved)

Associated Person

Quincy, Josiah, 1744-1775

Additional Identification Number





9/16 (W), 13/16 (diameter) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Edmund Quincy

Accession Number


Exhibition Notes

"Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at

Reference Notes

For more information on mourning jewelry see Bury, Shirley, "Jewellery, 1789-1910," v. 2 (1991): 657-710; Deutsch, Davida Tenebaum, "Jewelry for mourning, love, and fancy, 1770-1830," "The Magazine Antiques" (April 1999): 566-575; Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America, 1600-1900," (1995): 23-31.

Related Items

Title Mourning Ring Accession Number 1971.332
Title Mourning Ring Accession Number 1971.333
Title Mourning Brooch Accession Number 1971.334
Title Mourning Brooch Accession Number 1971.338
Title Mourning Ring Accession Number 1971.339
Title Mourning Ring Accession Number 1971.340