The Victorians were captivated by symbolism. While the meaning of some symbols are obvious, others have become misinterpreted over time. This pretty little gem is not a symbol of death, danger, or menace, but one that carries the message - seize the day and live life to its fullest!
The piece has been made in a 15 Ct gold with a warm hue bordering on rose. The gem-set eyes are what make this piece come alive. Demantoid Garnets are known for their vivid, bright green color and in this case, it makes the skull's eyes look like they are glowing.
It is not marked, but is most likely a Memento Mori revival from the late 19th c. Not to be confused with memento mori pieces from the 17th or 18th c.
Unlike the mourning jewelry of the Georgian and Victorian periods that were specific to a loved one, a Memento Mori was meant to remind the wearer that life is short and should be celebrated. Wear this as your own personal reminder to live life well!
Dimensions & Details
- The overall stick pin is 2 1/2 inches long. The skull and crossbones portion is just under 3/4 of an inch at its widest point and 1/2 inch tall. The stickpin clutch is not pictured, but will be included.
- The gold tests as 15 Ct gold.
- The eyes are Demantoid Garnets.
Period & Hallmarks
- Victorian, late 19th c.
- The pin is in good antique condition. There are surface scratches and general wear that one would expect to see in a piece of this age.
About Demantoid Garnets
The star of this piece is the brilliant green sparkle of the Demantoid Garnet. Russian Demantoids, discovered in the mid-1800's, are prized and rare. They were a favorite of the Russian Czar Nicholas II and Royal jeweler Carl Fabergé.
Post-discovery, the popularity of these green gems continued to grow and can be found in antique pieces from the Victorian, Belle Époque and Edwardian periods. The Demantoid continues to be prized for its brilliance, fire, and vibrant green color. In larger sizes they can be more valuable than emeralds.
If you are interested in reading more about the jewelry terms or decorative periods referenced throughout our site, visit our Resources section for additional information.
Find out how to care for your collection of antique and modern jewels: visit our Jewelry Care page to get advice on maintaining and storing your treasured pieces.
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