There isn’t much we know about Mary Pegge Burnell. A quick search of her name reveals her family estate in England and a blurred picture of a memorial plaque on a wall at St. John of Jerusalem’s Church. But for all we do not know about this woman, one thing we can be sure of is that she was loved. The evidence is right here in The Mourning Ring.
In Georgian times, memorials to loved ones lost often took the form of mourning jewelry. This jewelry was crafted with an eye to honoring the dead. More than an external representation of a heart in grief, mourning jewelry often revealed a bit about the deceased through the use of symbolism. The draping of the gold and enamel urn centering this impressive ring indicates that Mary was an older woman when she died. But it is the snake coil encircling the edge of the ring, though, that offers us a glimpse of the love someone felt for her. Representing everlasting love, the snake motif was common in Georgian jewelry.
This piece, which once served as a celebration of a beloved's existence, can continue to reflect and inspire love as it is worn today.
Era - Georgian with Victorian Band
Materials - 18k & 14k Gold, Enamel
Size - US 6
Back of ring reads "Mary Pegge Burnell Obt 11 July, 1815 Age 60"