1878 Victorian Mourning Ring 18k Gold Pearls Black Enamel

An intricate and well-made late Victorian mourning ring, crafted in solid 18k gold with natural pearl and black enamel accents, and fully hallmarked for Birmingham 1878. The hinged locket ring face opens deftly to reveal an empty compartment. ‘IN MEMORY OF’ is lettered in black enamel and encircles the ring shank. The reverse of the ring face reveals the following inscription:

Queenie
died Dec. 4 / 03
Aged 7

It’s fascinating that a ring made in 1878 was not inscribed and worn as mourning jewelry until 1903. The ring was either kept in the family for 25 years, or had been purchased as a well-made vintage piece. Whatever the reason, the tragic passing of Queenie, aged 7, in 1903 (114 years ago from today) has been immortalized in the form of this ring.

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Description

Date: 1878, late Victorian era

Size: USA 9, UK R, EU 59

Materials: 18k gold, natural pearls, black enamel

Weight: 3.8 grams

Marks:
– [crown 18] for solid 18k gold
– [anchor] for the Birmingham assay office
– [letter d] year stamp for 1878
– [head of Victoria] gold import mark
– [A & S] jeweler’s mark

Inscription: [Queenie died Dec. 4 / 03 Aged 7]

Dimension of ring face: 10.3 x 8.8 mm oval

Width of shank: 3 – 4.5 mm

Thickness of shank: 1 mm

Condition: Due to some minor unevenness to the enamel surface, I believe there’s been some repair work done to the ring face black enamel. This is very well done and not obvious to the naked eye (please see photographs). I also believe this ring has been sized up in the past: there is a gap between the letters “m” and “o” at the back of the shank, where the extra gold was inserted in the past.