21st September 2021

Mourning Jewellery

 In the past, the social necessity for mourning wear was such that outfitters actually had mourning departments!

Tasmanian News (Hobart), 6 August 1886 page 1.

The article below was printed in the Australian Town and Country, 29th June 1901 page 43.


“The Marcella. A widow’s costume in crepe cloth or cashmere. The bodice has a white V and the lower part of the sleeve to match.”

Jewellery and buttons were not exempt from the demands of correct mourning.

The Albury Banner (NSW), 10th October 1902 page 10.

Even before Queen Victoria wore black Jet jewellery and buttons (very expensive and not very durable), black glass buttons were ‘acceptable’ wear during mourning. A lock of hair of the deceased could be encased under glass for a brooch or (less commonly) a button. Hair could be plaited or woven into bracelets or art works. In the days before photography, this were precious momentos.

Button with plaited hair. Used with permission from Ebay seller hvnhelpme.

The Mail (Adelaide), 24 February 1934 page 5.

The Canberra Times, 4th August 1985 page 28.

Other symbols of mourning that could adorn buttons were the omega symbol (Ω) and angels. Livery buttons could be ordered in a blackened finish, or simply painted black.

Image used with permission from Ebay Store ‘Piece of Time’, user name brojor.