Last revised: April 23, 2018
Cremation Jewelry Rings Over the Years: How They Have Changed and How They Have Stayed the Same
Cremation jewelry, formerly known as mourning jewelry or funeral jewelry, has been around since the 1600s. And the earliest, most ubiquitous kind of cremation jewelry was the cremation jewelry ring. Even though this type of ring was made famous in the 1800s by Queen Victoria, who wore her mourning ring for 40 years after the death of her husband, Albert, it has served as a source of comfort for the mourning since long before then.
However, while the concept of a cremation ring has been around for more than 420 years, the actual look of the ring has changed significantly over time. Here are just a few of the changes this type of jewelry has undergone over the years.
The cremation ring was traditionally created out of dark materials. Today, however, it is characterized by the same bright metals, gems, and designs that mark other types of fine jewelry.
Traditionally, remembrance jewelry such as cremation rings were fashioned out of dark materials. Perhaps the most common of these was jet, a black or dark brown wood-based material. Also popular were black onyx, black glass, obsidian, and other black gems such as garnet and amber.
Frequently, white enameled designs or inscriptions were included on these dark pieces of jewelry. However, the overall effect was a ring (or necklace) that was very somber.
Over time, however, cremation jewelry rings began to take on a brighter, more hopeful look. For example, instead of dark jet and onyx, they began to incorporate sparkling gold and silver. In addition, they began to use precious jewels and intricate designs.
Today, friends and family members can transform their loved one’s ashes into a sparkling and precious diamond for use in a bright and beautiful cremation ring. Far from serving as a sad reminder of a person’s death, this sparkling ring serves as a tangible reminder of all the good things the deceased brought into the lives of their loved ones.
Cremation rings began as an accompaniment to traditional mourning clothes, and was generally only worn during the mourning period. Today, however, it is appropriate to wear this type of jewelry almost anywhere.
Thanks to its dark and somewhat morbid appearance, cremation rings were originally used almost exclusively during the mourning period (which could last 1 to 3 years). They accompanied the traditional black mourning clothes and declared to everybody around that the person wearing the jewelry was grieving. In general, this jewelry was not worn past the mourning period. Queen Victoria, for instance, stood out because she refused to take off her mourning ring for 40 years after the death of her husband, Prince Albert.
Today, however, the cremation ring is considered a treasure to be worn at any time. Part of the reason for this change is the fact that this type of jewelry now uses the same materials and designs as other fine jewelry, making it a much less sober accompaniment to outfits and events. So common is it to wear cremation jewelry anywhere, that some people choose to wear a cremation ring on their wedding day as a way to honor the life and memory of a dead loved one.
The cremation jewelry ring originally remembered the dead with inscriptions. Over time, remains began to be included in the jewelry. Today, the ashes of the deceased can be grown into a beautiful diamond.
The very first cremation rings did not contain any of the remains of the deceased. Instead, the cremation earring, cremation necklace, or cremation ring were inscribed with the Latin phrase memento mori (“Be mindful of death”), with the deceased’s name, date of birth, and/or date of death, or with images such as heads and skulls.
However, by the Victorian era, it was common practice to incorporate some of the dead person’s remains into the jewelry. Most popular was the hair of the deceased, which was often braided into intricate and beautiful designs called hairwork. This practice was common in both Europe and in the United States, where the ravages of the Civil War left innumerable families bereaved.
As cremation became more popular, the results of these cremations (called cremains) became part of cremation jewelry rings. For example, a small amount of ash might be placed in a small chamber inside the jewelry.
Today, while you can still get cremation jewelry that has a chamber for holding ashes, the more beautiful method is to have those ashes transformed into a diamond. This sparkling gem serves as a reminder of the person’s beautiful life and personality, and is the perfect centerpiece for a gorgeous ring.
Despite the changes that have occurred to cremation rings over the years, their purpose remains the same: To memorialize someone beloved who has died.
Over the last 420 years, there has been one aspect of cremation rings that has not changed: Their use as a way of memorializing someone beloved who has died. Ultimately, it is this goal which undergirds the creation of all cremation rings: A desire to keep the memory of the loved one alive and close.
Today, there is no better way to do so than by the use of a memorial diamond from Heart In Diamond. These gems allow you to literally keep your loved one close in a form that is beautiful and that will last for many years to come. When placed into a sparkling cremation jewelry ring, it serves as a permanent reminder of the joy and beauty your loved one brought to your life.