The mourning icon you see here dates as early as 1840, as late as Napoleon III era (c.1850-70, roughly). It's made more in line with the earlier dates, an opaline glass backing and the addition of both seed pearls and slightly larger pearls, 18k gold wires and a cast 18k gold monogram of intricate design. The lock of hair a graying brunette, seems likely to be that of a middle aged person. We purchased this along with one made very similarly and with light reddish blond or light brunette lock, giving us impression the two people died at the same time, perhaps an epidemic taking both mother and child. Remember no photography before 1838, when Daguerre developed the very first method of photography, and for the most part, no popular photography until later 1860s and beyond. A lock of hair would have been very likely the only remnant and memento of the person who died. The icons in this one include a moon, the reference to celestial destination; seed pearls which represent the tears of the mourner.
Very good to excellent condition for age and type. I can see wear to the brass mat in form of a few dark spots that did not instantly polish, but will likely with a little more elbow grease than I'd applied to it. The backing is not broken, no cracks. There is one tiny seed pearl missing around the moon, but the 6 larger pearls holding the lock of hair are all intact. Measurements noted on the photos, it is 5.25" (plus bale) x 4.5" and is .25" thick overall. The oval aperture is 3.25" x 3". Frame and piece in total are quite elegant, still.
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Antique French Hair Art Memento, Mourning Memorial with Greying Locks, Seed Pearls, 18K Gold
$297 $395 SALE