A pertinent day after the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
The queen literally of mourning was Queen Victoria. When Albert died in 1861, the mourning machine went into full swing, Queen Victoria putting black on the map, all clothes were black, furniture often with a little lift of gold and jewellery went this way too. Lucky really for the miners of Whitby jet, a coal like substance that was hard enough to take a carvers chisel. Due the recent invention of elastic meant that bracelet's and collars etc could be made by carving smaller sections of jet into a larger item in segments, I have never come across any Whitby much bigger in a single piece than 3 inches or 8cm.
French jet shouldn't be confused with Whitby jet , the later a natural product the former man made glass, also vulcanite an early plastic which was moulded and a cheaper version of jet was pressed horn made to represent Whitby Jet.
Certainly from the 18th century it was popular to add a loved ones name to a brooch or ring normally with plaited hair woven in or around, often making the most beautiful designs, even grinding hair and using is to make the most lovely sepia painting to aide memoire.
It was even popular to make jewellery out of hair with the addition of gold etc, even watch chains, all these items make a great insight into the past and are great collectable items. With the addition of enamel etc adding more meaning such as white for an unmarried girl or lady, black often with the addition of in memory of etc, or different surround such as amethyst pearls or diamond garnets too all having a different meaning and statement.
A great thing to collect and still very inexpensive a 200 year old brooch in gold often as little as £70, many items on our site www.topbananaantiques.com search using word mourning or Whitby.
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