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from the archive
GeorgianDeath's HeadMourning Ring

In the centuries leading up to the Victorian era, the rude brevity of human life was accepted—even advertised—in popular culture, as evidenced by this so-called "death's head" ring from 1702. It's a piece of memento mori jewelry, which borrows its name from a Latin phrase meaning "remember your death." It was widely prevalent during the 1600s and 1700s, and usually contained fatalistic symbols like skulls, coffins, or grim reapers. This particular ring was commemorative—the interior is inscribed "FY ob't 25 Apr 1702"—and is wrought in 18k gold. It's a US size 8.5 and cannot (or at least should not) be resized.


  • Materials

    18k yellow gold

  • Age

    c. 1702

  • Condition

    Very good; very light scratches to the exterior - to be expected in a ring that's more than 300 years old

  • Size

    US 8.5

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