Where did the Practice of Memorial Jewellery Come From?
“Those who have passed away do not have to be forgotten…”
Memorial jewellery can be divided into two clear categories, Memento Vitae and Memento Morie, memorable jewellery of the living and memorial jewellery for the deceased.
Some very notable Memento Vitae would include:
Richard Burton bought the very memorable jewel, the Taylor-Burton diamond, a 69.42 carat, pear-shaped diamond in 1969 for the highest price ever paid up to then, in 1969. She later sold it for $5m to pay for a hospital in Botswana.
Tsar Alexander III gave his wife the first Faberge egg in 1885 and then repeated it every Easter thereafter.
Cleopatra gave Julius Caesar a very valuable Persian rug….. with her rolled up inside it! Was this a crown in the jewel?
Today, people who care about each other buy, or exchange memorable pieces of jewellery as memento vitae in the way people have for millennia past. It can be made into a very special gift if it incorporates something very precious such as a lock of a child’s hair, a twist of mane from a horse, sand from a very memorable beach, etc.
In Australia and New Zealand such memorable jewellery often incorporates dried umbilical cord to symbolise that your baby is forever with you. Of course, it also embodies the DNA of that child too.