Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Object of the Day: A Victorian Jet Mourning Stickpin

Jet was a popular stone in Victorian jewelry. Due to its deep black color, it was often employed as a material for mourning jewelry. Victorian society had very strict rules concerning mourning. Gentlemen often had the easiest time dressing for mourning sue to the fact that the majority of men’s clothing was dark-colored in the first place. Mourning restrictions governed that diamonds should not be worn during this period of grief, and, so, adornments of jet and pearls were the preferred accessories.

This faceted jet stickpin would have served as a piece of mourning jewelry for a gentleman. Dating to about 1850, this stickpin is crafted of 15 karat gold (the British standard at the time) and features a substantial jet bead around which a structure of gold has been created. The gold band is set with pearls of graduated color from black to white. The gold band spins around the jet bead, and the bead itself turns independently as well—offering a bit of play and whimsy to an otherwise somber piece.

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