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Home / Antique / Antique mourning ring made in 1804

Antique mourning ring made in 1804


There is something so poignant about mourning rings, and here is a wonderful antique mourning ring that was made over 200 years ago and is still in amazing condition.

Made in 18 carat gold, the enamel section on the front says "In Memory of a beloved husband" which is around an oval locket compartment with woven hair and the initials "FS". Around the band it has written "Francis Stephens OB 2 Dec 1804 AE 26".

Francis Stephens was born in 1779, and married Ann Frances Cole in 1802. In 1803 their first child Daniel was born, with their second child, Francis being born in 1803. Francis was to become a Master in the Royal Navy who died on a voyage to Jamaica in 1805 at just 26 years old.

Measuring 14.1mm and tapering down to 5.2mm at the back, the ring is a size "O" (US size 7.5) and sits so lovely and smooth on the finger.

People shouldn't look at mourning rings as being morbid, rather as a wonderful look at how peoples lives were celebrated in a bygone era.


Stock# ET967

Circa: 1804




In stock


Antique mourning ring made in 1804

Antique mourning ring made in 18 carat yellow gold.

Francis Stevens was born on in 1779 to parents Benjamin and Mary (nee Haskell) Stevens who were married on 28th April 1778. He married Ann Frances Cole on 6/10/1802. She was the daughter of William and Esther Cole. A son Daniel was born in 1803, followed by another, Francis, in 1805, the same year that his mother died.

On his tombstone it is engraved

"Sacred to the Memory of FRANCIS STEPHENS Master in the Royal Navy. Who departed this life on the 2nd day of December 1804
on his passage from Jamaica in the 26th year of his age. Beloved he lived Lamented he died His life was desired but God denied
also ANNE FRANCES Wife of the above who died October 12th 1805 in the 26th year of her age."

When was the Georgian era?

Georgian era: 1714-1837. William IV reigned from (1830-1837), however there is no “William” era and indeed his time as King is considered to be part of the Georgian era.

This era covers the reigns of the four English ruling kings named George and William IV. Because of this long time frame and the lives of the monarchs, the style of Georgian never can be considered truly “typical”.,The style and techniques continues to change over the century.

The styles went from Rococo passing through the Gothic revival and Neoclassical, where you see the style of not only jewellery, but furniture and houses as well, change and evolve through the decades.

The setting of diamonds and other gemstones used a “new” technique. Foil backing a stone, involved closing the back of the stone with a metal coating that was sometimes coloured to enhance the stones colour or a bright silver colour for diamonds or colourless paste.

Due to the cost and therefore rarity of diamonds a “new” material was sometimes used. Berlin Iron, was as the name implies, iron jewellery that started in Germany in 1806. German citizens were asked to hand in their gold jewellery to help with the war effort, and in return received cast-iron replicas of their jewellery. These items of jewellery that were made for the war effort, were often inscribed ” Gold gab ich fur Eisen” (I gave gold for Iron.)

This turned out to become quite popular and fashionable for those who could not afford real diamonds. Even for those that could, this technique continued onto the middle of the nineteenth century.

Glass paste is where coloured paste (glass) was used to copy and imitate real gems and were developed during this era. Due to its relatively low hardness -around 6.5 on Moh’s scale of hardness - a lot of this jewellery has not survived. Or if it has, it is not in the best of condition. This material often allowed those who could not afford the more precious and expensive gems to be able to wear jewellery among their fellow peers. However, it has been known for wealthy people to wear this imitation jewellery amongst their jewellery set with natural gemstones.

The Georgian era, like the later Victorian era, was a highly romantic and nostalgic era. Memorial jewellery, where portraits of loved ones were painted onto rings and brooches became common. This included using the loved ones hair, either woven and set in the back of a ring or brooch, or plaited and displayed in the front.

Another romantic style of jewellery that came into fashion, was REGARD and DEAREST jewellery. These were often rings though sometimes brooches, though these were more commonly found in the Victorian era that used different gemstones where the first letter of each gem spelt out the word dearest or regard. For example, a regards ring may have been set with Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby and Diamond.

The Georgian era is one that is steeped in history, with styles and gemstones that are quite diverse.

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