Antique Victorian 12K Gold & Black Enamel Mourning Pin/Brooch - Dated 1843
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AGE: Engraving at the back of the pin is 1843 so possibly made in that year or the year after.
ITEM: A rose gold Victorian mourning pin featuring a lock of hair on the underside of the center oval glass surrounded by a band of black enamel. Written on the back of the pin is "Aidan Clark Obt Nov. 26, 1843 Aged 21 Years Maria Clark." Sounds like a In Memoriam/Memento Mori pin for a mother holding onto a reminder of her lost son. Simple c-catch at the back to hold the pinstem in place.
CONDITION: Interesting to say the least. I thought that, like most hair pins, the front would open to extract the hair. So imagine my surprise when the ENTIRE front came out in my hand. Even now, trying to pry the front oval out, I just can't so it seems this piece may have been meant to pop out from the larger oval holder as, once in place, the rim does fold over the engraved edge. At any rate, this makes for an easy removal of the hair that is already in place. Looking at the back of the large oval, the piece has never been glued or soldered into the main section - this will need to be done in order to keep the top section firmly shut.
METAL CONTENT: The top rose gold tests at 12K however in looking on the side, it appears the gold is an overlay over a gold filled material.
HALLMARKS: None that I can spot.
SIZE: 1-7/16" x 1-3/16". Inner oval (viewable area) is 13/16" x 1/2".
WEIGHT: 8.6 grams
FINAL COMMENTS: With a little TLC - this lovely pin can take pride of place in a mourning jewelry collection! Engraved and dated pieces are the hardest to find and this really is a wonderful example of Victorian sentimentality.
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