Mourning Pendant for Samuel Ralston, 1795

Summary

Before the 20th century, death came early and often. One way people coped was to wear jewelry as memorials to their loved ones. Over the centuries, mourning jewelry followed the prevailing fashions. Shortly after independence, Americans favored illuminated, miniature brooches and pendants painted on ivory. These featured shapes derived from classical design, symbols such as urns and weeping women dressed as ancient Romans.

Before the 20th century, death came early and often. One way people coped was to wear jewelry as memorials to their loved ones. Over the centuries, mourning jewelry followed the prevailing fashions. Shortly after independence, Americans favored illuminated, miniature brooches and pendants painted on ivory. These featured shapes derived from classical design, symbols such as urns and weeping women dressed as ancient Romans.

Artifact

Pendant (Jewelry)

Date Made

1795

Subject Date

10 January 1795

Creators

Unknown

Place of Creation

United States 

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

61.151.6

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Gold (Metal)
Ivory (Tooth component)
Human hair
Sepia (Ink)
Enamel (Fused coating)

Technique

Grisaille
Hairwork

Color

Sepia (Color)
Multicolored

Dimensions

Height: 2.25 in

Width: 1.688 in

Inscriptions

front: Welcome to Bliss Saml. Ralston OB. 10 Jany 1795 Ae. 24 How Transient is Human Happyness [sic]

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