A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
In Death Lamented
The Art and Symbolism of Mourning Jewellery with Sarah Nehama
on Saturday the 21st October 2023 at 3:30 pm

The art of mourning jewellery serves as a reminder of the wearer's connection to a departed loved one. These adornments often feature inscriptions bearing the name or initials of the deceased, alongside locks of hair, silhouettes, or symbols like the eternal knot. This practice has been crafted since at least the 17th century, but it soared in popularity during the era known as the 'dark age' of Queen Victoria's mourning for her beloved Prince Consort Albert. During this time, visible expressions of grief became elevated as fashionable items.

In the earlier Georgian age, mourning jewellery embraced more macabre motifs, such as skeletons and coffins, serving as memento mori, constant reminders of death's inevitability. As society evolved, the symbolism evolved as well, transitioning to more subtle and enduring representations of grief and remembrance.

In this talk, Sarah Nehama will discuss the rich history and origins of early mourning jewellery, shedding light on its function in society. She will explore the materials employed in creating these poignant pieces and examine the iconography that has left a lasting impression on the art form. From the late 17th century to the early 20th century, the evolution of mourning jewellery's style will be showcased, with a particular focus on pieces linked to the heart of London, a city with a profound connection to this tradition. Through her narrative, Sarah will celebrate the artistry and significance of mourning jewellery, a timeless expression of love, loss, and remembrance.

Tickets £12 including a delightful gin cocktail and a 20% donation to Brompton Cemetery. Please click here to purchase.

Sarah Nehama
Sarah Nehama  is a working metalsmith and antique jewelry collector based in Providence, Rhode Island.

In 2012, Sarah co-curated the exhibition, In Death Lamented: The Tradition of Anglo-American Mourning Jewellery at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, Massachusetts. She authored the companion volume by the same name, and was a major lender to the exhibition.Since then, Sarah has lectured on the topic of mourning and sentimental jewellery at museums, historical societies, jewellery associations, and antique symposia, both in the US and in Australia.

Image - Antique ring courtesy of Sarah Nehama

Brompton Cemetery