The Key To The Lock
They lie at rest beneath glass; twisted and curled with art and tears – products of a grief that will not surrender. They are the creations of loss: delicate memories that are kept close in melancholy beauty.
Mourning jewelry was popular during the notoriously sentimental 19th century – a time of disease and fey prettiness. In England, it became especially popular after the death of Prince Albert in 1861, when the Widow of Windsor made grieving an art, shrouding the court in shadow.
Taking their cue from the Queen, people glorified lives made unnecessarily short with brooches, rings, bracelets and lockets containing a strand of the deceased’s hair. These items were exquisitely graceful: filigrees of sad, burnished gold or onyx, outlined with tears of pearls. The lock of hair each held was woven and spun into sprays of wheat, weeping willows, scrolls of feathers, complex plaited mats.
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