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Collection of Mourning Rings Top £68,000 in Jewellery Sale...

27th October 2021

Lawrences’ Autumn auction of jewellery and watches saw eager competition for the majority of the lots and, along the way, there were pleasant surprises for many vendors.

The sale included a fascinating group of 43 lots of early mourning rings and jewellery from the reign of Henry VIII through to the reign of Queen Victoria, expected to make £28000 met with very keen bidding and soared to £68000. The highlight was a 17th Century gold `memento mori` ring from the era of King Charles I, with the ominous legend `Behould Thy Ende`, that exceeded its upper estimate of £6000 to make £10000. Mourning rings, worn to commemorate the death of a loved one or even a public figure or monarch, were desirable pieces of jewellery especially in the 18th Century. Some examples were modestly discreet whilst others were more ostentatious: a navette-shaped mourning ring for Gabriel Still in 1786 contained his neatly woven hair and made £575.

The sale’s top price was saved for the very last lot: a sumptuously ornate pair of diamond drop earrings, in a fitted case by Harvey & Gore, that overstepped hopes of £7000 to make £15500.

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