Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Its arguable that the Victorian period in England and America gave rise to some of the most heavy handed, complex, and flat out creepy mourning customs in human history. And certainly one of the most bizarre was the creation, and wearing of mourning jewelry. Its a category of accessories specifically designed to accompany the entire process of Victorian mourning from the first day, to the end of a year, when family could leave off mourning, at last. Only royalty was required to extend mourning beyond a year.
Considering the frighteningly high level of early death that was the reality at the time, very few people were untouched by the long and intricate mourning process, and for people with large families, they spent a great deal of their time, dressed in black, gray, or purple. Few families were without the reality of a child's death, and even young adults could easily succumb to things we give no serious thought to now. So black was really THE color for the Victorian period. Every ready to wear establishment had big departments devoted to black clothing. Milliners had sections for mourning hats, and veils. And jewelers fell right into line.