- Precious Metal Weight: Approximately 3.50 dwt
- Precious Metal Material: 14k buttery yellow gold, with organic patina
- Dimensions: 24.88 long x 21.39 wide x 6.87 deep (measured from the back of the rear bail loop and stem pin, to table/top of the glass glazing)
- Weight: An impressive 5.58 grams
- Markings: No purity marks or hallmarks are present, as is typical for a piece of this age; the hand-engraved rear inscription reads “Elizabeth Emerson Obt,,19 Feb,,y 1833 Æt ,, 24”
- Era: Georgian, c. 1830-1835; dated specifically to the year 1833.
- Buyer Notes: This piece is an excellent example of Georgian mourning jewelry, a much beloved historic custom intended to publicly and socially honor a departed family member. For one’s child of this age, the period of mourning was expected to be at least one year. This jewel would likely have served the wearer as they transitioned between full and half mourning phases. While there is some wear to the enameling (pictured) that is absolutely expected of a piece of this age, no areas are missing enameling. If any maintenance exists, it would have been completed throughout its history, decades before it was acquired by this shop. The glazed (glass-topped) hairwork is in exceptional shape, and there appears to be no prevalence of clouding. Furthermore, the blonde hair is itself a rarer find, as brunette hair is far more common (genes) of mourning jewelry. This brooch is a superb relic of a long lost tradition, and venerates its honoree to the utmost degree. An ideal addition to any collection, this elegant piece is a true prize.
Crafted in the last decade of the Georgian era, this mourning brooch was designed to be a loving memento of a young lady who departed in her early adulthood. Mourning jewelry was worn typically by women during the prescribed mourning phases after a loved one passed. This piece boasts an impressive weight for its perfectly petite scale, and includes a rear bail loop and stem pin, enabling it to be enjoyed as either a brooch or a pendant. Its dainty frame reveals loads of symbolism, while its young honoree has her own story to tell.
The face of the pin has an elaborate high relief acanthus and floral octagonal surround. A pair of cyma swirls punctuate each cardinal point on its perimeter, while inward facing rose buds dot each of the four corners. A pristine geometrically patterned halo separates the deeply engraved frame from the inner black enaming that reads “IN MEMORY OF” in crisp Gothic script. A ten-petaled stylized flower silhouette completes the script’s continuance, represents the Ten Commandments and thus symbolizes both the departed’s spiritual reverence and her budding youth.
This piece centers a hairwork chamber with Ms. Emerson’s dark blonde hair beautifully plaited within. The hand blown, hand beveled glazing (glass) is original and, most remarkably, is not clouded from its nearly two hundred year existence. It is in very fine, very clean shape with no visible residue, damage or wear. This hairwork is outlined by another halo of very delicate florals and cymas, illustrating the ebbs and flows of the knowns and unknowns of life and death, as well as the security of faith through it all.
What is quite interesting is the use of black enamel on this piece, as black enamel was typically reserved for patrons who were married at the time of their decease. However, research did not reveal that Ms. Emerson was wedded. It is very possible, in this case, that her parents selected this brooch from their jeweler as a partially ready-made jewel, wherein a craftsman would complete the piece with a rear inscription and an artisan would supply the finished lock of hair (as provided by the family) for careful placement under the glass front, altogether creating a finished, highly personalized and intimate devotion to the lost loved one.
The reverse of this brooch is not domed as some of this age tend to be, and exhibits its original tube hinge and open c-clasp closure mechanism. At some point early in the piece’s history, a tiny gold ring was added for use as a bail, should the wearer rather don it as a pendant. The fine script reads:
Obt,, 19 Feb,,y
1833 Æt ,, 24
Elizabeth Emerson was born on October 14, 1808 to Arthur Emerson (whose occupation was listed as “Gentleman” for most of his adult life; born 1786, died December 19,1841 and was buried on Christmas Eve at St Mary Church in Newington, Southwark, UK) and Margaret Alderson (born 1786 and died on April 20, 1852). The couple married on May 23, 1806 at St. Mary’s Church in Lambeth. This church has pre-Norman beginnings, with its earliest records noting that it was built by Goda, sister of Edward the Confessor sometime around 1062.
Arthur and Margaret were 21 and 20 years old when they wed, and had nine children in 14 years. When she was 22, Margaret gave birth to Elizabeth, their first and oldest child. Elizabeth’s siblings were Mary, Christopher, George, Richard, Rosamond Barbera, Margaret Allen, Georgina Augusta, Arthur William. Similarly to Elizabeth, Christopher died at 10 years in 1820, Rosamond Barbera died at 21 years in 1835 and Arthur William died at 24 years in 1847.
Elizabeth was baptized just over a month after her birth, her baptismal records stating that she was dedicated on November 23 at Saint Olave Church in Southwark, London, UK, a church with ancient origins and located on the bank of the Thames. A bit over two short decades later, Ms. Emerson passed on February 19, 1833 at the age of 24 years, 4 months and 5 days, and was buried on February 27, 1833 in London. Her burial is recorded by the St. Mary Abchurch Parish archives, and her funerary service was performed and recorded by a Mr. J.W. Bellamy. Hers was the first funeral recorded for the parish in 1833.
Genealogical research is diligently performed for every mourning and sentimental jewel that we inherit into our shop, so as to most reverently recognize the honoree. The buyer of this brooch may request documents pulled during the research process for their records. Please note that we have connected with the living descendants of Ms. Emerson to offer the return of this long separated piece back into their family’s treasured heirlooms, and if they so wish for its return, it will be pulled from the open market.
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General Information: All additional jewelry boxes, ring boxes, and other jewelry items pictured alongside a featured listing are considered props, are for photographic and display purposes only and are not included in the transaction unless otherwise noted. Items do not come with physical documentation, appraisals, or certifications, unless explicitly stated in the item description and/or title. While jewelry is inspected upon procurement by the shop as well as prior to shipment, Revival Fine Jewelry cannot guarantee a warranty once items leave our inventory, given the delicate and individual nature of secondhand articles and the unaccountability of buyer handling post-purchase.
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Regarding Brooches & Pins: Often significantly and curiously undervalued jewelry items, brooches, pins and stick pins are treasured pieces of history in this shop. Accordingly, their pricing is calculated analogous to other fine jewelry, including their symbolic meaning, rarity and historical prestige. Such pieces are typically converted to other forms of jewelry, and are therefore becoming increasingly rare in their original states. Aside from being perfectly wearable as sophisticated lapel ornaments, brooches and pins of all kinds are prime candidates for many kinds of fine jewelry conversions, including rings, earrings, pendants, and charms, if so desired by the consumer post-purchase. Revival Fine Jewelry does not perform conversion projects for customers.
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All layaway terms may be found here, and all shop policies may be found here.
Layaway is available for full priced, non-sale items priced $600.00 USD or greater, and items may not be combined to attain price-eligibility. Plans are offered as 3-month/90-day maximum terms.
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• A 30% deposit is due upfront to reserve the item for layaway and pull it from public sale on all of our shopping platforms. Shipping expenses are added to this first payment unless otherwise requested.
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To request a layaway plan, please email us here. Remember to specify your desired item by noting its link, title or code.