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Objects in Focus: Mourning Rings

In the period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, even as everyday material comforts became more widely available, life remained uncertain, with mortality rates remaining high across Europe’s population. Around 1650, the popularity of mourning jewellery as a coping mechanism began to increase, especially in England. Dressed in sombre black for the mourning period, usually only those closest to the departed wore memorial jewellery, often a ring.

In this video Victoria Avery, Keeper of the Fitzwilliam’s Applied Arts Department, talks about the collection of mourning rings at the Museum and some of the personal stories they reveal.

From the collection

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