Tag Archives: mourning jewellery

Post 2,901

2,900 seems like a nicely rounded number, though in just 99 posts from this one I will be celebrating number 3,000, which will be even rounder. At the moment this is also draft 88, another well-rounded number and known to bingo callers as “two fat ladies”. What junk I carry in my head . . .

I passed a Funeral Director’s branch office today. It has closed in Nottingham and is just operating from its Head Office in Mansfield. What sort of undertaker, I asked my mate, can possibly be doing badly during a pandemic? He says it’s because of the number of new companies advertising no-frills cremations. They cost about half the cost of a normal cheap funeral and you can pay in advance. The only trouble with paying in advance is that they might disappear with the money. That would be annoying.

He’s over 80 now and I am of an age that regularly appears in obituaries these days, so we both have an interest in the subject. I favour a simple cremation followed by my ashes being returned home by post. He, after great thought, has decided on an informal woodland burial. This involves me, a transit van and a shovel, plus a secluded bit of woodland with easy access to a parking spot. It’s not the poshest of funerals, but overheads are low. He wants to be buried with a Star Trek badge and a pocketful of Roman Coins. He doesn’t like Star Trek and isn’t particularly fond of Romans, but he really does dislike archaeologists!

You can also get ashes made into jewellery – anything from a small container to  wear as a pendant, to a large artificial diamond (which is just carbon, like us after the cremation). If I’d know modern mourning jewellery was still in use, I would have made a collection of Georgian and Victorian mourning jewellery and used the bits with me in them as the final part of the collection.

I think that will do. I fell asleep last night and didn’t get round to posting this, so it’s time to post and then get going with a new day. There’s nothing like a discussion of death to remind me that I need to get on. This is my last Saturday off until summer, so I’m going to appreciate it. Back to work full time on Monday after a lazy few weeks!

Day 42

I just looked at the title, and thought, that only leaves 323 days until the end of the year. Give it three weeks and the year will be 1/6th gone. And what have I done? Well, apart from moaning about the cold, worrying about WW3 and putting off the housework? I know they are all important things, but they aren’t real achievements are they?

I’m getting ready to put a few better bits on eBay for work and, at home, to catalogue my collection of plastic transport tokens. Here’s a question for you, what are collectors of transport tokens called?answer (in the US at least) is Vecturist). In the UK, they just call us anoraks. Even coin collectors look down on us as being peculiar. The hobby is much more developed in the US. There are also more serial killers in the US. I’m not saying the two things are linked, but you have to wonder . . .

The pictures for today are two pieces of coin jewellery. The header picture is a 1901 penny which has been cut away and made into a brooch. It’s fine work and it’s a shame the pin is missing. It isn’t much worn, which makes me think it was probably made in about 1901, maybe as a piece of mourning jewellery for Queen Victoria. It is very dark and the patina may have been artificially applied.

The other is an enamelled bronze brooch (also lacking a pin) which has had a farthing mounted in the centre. This, as the inscription shows, is definitely a piece of mourning jewellery. The maker’s mark is “W.J.D” which is W. J. Dingley, a Birmingham manufacturer of everything from high quality trophies to mass market badges.

When I found them (I was going through one of the junk boxes) I thought of adding them to my collection, as I have a few bits of coin jewellery, but decided against it, as it’s time to start cutting back, not adding to the burden of whoever has to sort out my collections.

If things had gone a different way I may, by now, have become a leading authority on mourning jewellery. Instead, I’m a shop assistant. Sic transit gloria mundi, as they say.

Penny Brooch – front view

Penny Brooch showing rear view with Britannia and the date 1901

Penny Brooch showing rear view with Britannia and the date 1901

With modern penny for size comparison

With modern penny for size comparison

An Early Night

Not sure where to start today. I missed a grim demonstration of nature in action this afternoon, but Julia reported it to me. A small brown bird was chirping in the gutter, clearly trying to entice its parents to come and feed it. Suddenly there was a flutter of black and white as a magpie landed, snatched the little bird up in its beak and flew off. It’s hard to imagine that there was  a happy ending. I’m not sur whether I feel sorry for the fledgling or regret that I wasn’t able to film it. Sometimes I am not a very nice person.

I spent the first part of the morning struggling to get to work through multiple roadworks. This was very annoying. Then I struggled to get home as a lorry had broken down on the Ring Road. Some days you feel more like a commuter than others.

We seem to have had nothing but news of people dying recently. One of Julia’s ex-colleagues died a few weeks ago and we only just found out and a neighbour died yesterday. Neither were covid related.

I looked up the crematorium in Gedling and found that they offer a range of products containing the ashes of the deceased. I knew you could get ashes compressed into diamonds at great expense (£1,400 for an amber coloured quarter carat stone to £16.500 for a clear 2 carat stone – plus extra for cutting if you want a more ornate cut of stone), but I didn’t know you could get the ashes of a dead relative used as the design for a paperweight. In a world that has gone mad with big weddings and conspicuous mourning, I don’t suppose it should be a surprise.

The Georgians and Victorians were very big on putting hair into mourning jewellery. However, there was a certain amount of thought and design in earlier times, which you don’t seem to find in a paperweight or pair of cufflinks. I would hate to think bits of me would have an afterlife as a piece of tacky jewellery. I really don’t know whether I should despair or laugh.

We had twenty three poppies this morning, but yesterday, having failed to deadhead for two days, only got ten. I may have to drop my estimate a bit, or deadhead with more enthusiasm.

That’s about it. Covid rates are rising again, the Government is in turmoil, a holiday company is going to take the Government to court because they haven’t put enough holiday destinations on the Green List, and I’m complaining about traffic and bad taste mourning jewellery. That, as posterity will show, is a truer measure about the thoughts of ordinary people than anything you will read in the papers twenty years from now. Covid will pass, but bad taste is always with us.

I haven’t slept well for the last few days, so I am going to go to bed after finishing this post. I have to be up early tomorrow – another blood test.


Spanish Poppies