Love and Death: Sentimental Jewelry in the Time of Jane Austen

The grand parures of precious gems worn by royalty and other aristocrats of the Georgian and Regency eras are what we see in paintings and in museums. But the ordinary people, who could never afford such pieces, favored a more sentimental type of jewelry, which was accessible and less expensive. The sentiment of such jewelry fell into two categories: the sentiment of love and the sentiment of death. In this presentation, Candice will explore both types, including symbols and iconography of mourning and of romance, all of which would have been well understood by people of the time. The use of hair in both types of jewelry will also be discussed.

Candice’s Powerpoint presentation will include lots of detailed images of mourning jewelry and love tokens from museums, including a mourning brooch with a lock of Jane Austen’s hair from the Jane Austen’s House Museum, as well as many examples from her own collection, including lover’s eyes, such as the one shown here. Items from her collection will be on display for attendees to examine.