Victorian (London, England) Old Mine Cut Diamond Mourning Ring, Dated "July 3 1850"

Period: mid-1800s, Victorian; London

Markings: This is a unique Victorian mourning ring from the middle-1800s. The interior of ring is hand inscribed, "W.P. obt 3 July 1850." (The "obt" is an abbreviation for the Latin "obiit," meaning "died," and the root of our modern term "obituary.") The inside of the shank is stamped with the appropriate British marks for the period: a left-facing female profile, a crown, an 18, a leopard’s head, and what we presume to have been a date stamp (now illegible). 

The woman’s profile is a duty mark, a stamp that was applied to British precious-metal goods from 1784-1890. The duty was created as a supposedly temporary means for raising revenue on behalf of the British government. Yet the “temporary” duty survived for one hundred and six years before discontinuation in 1890. The image within the stamp is a stylized portrait of the reigning monarch of the time of the mark’s application. The duty mark within this piece, therefore, is of Queen Victoria, who reigned 1837-1901.

In 1798, a crowned 18 mark (two stamps: a crown and 18) was introduced for use on 18 karat/750 gold. The two high-karat gold metal standards—22 and 18—remained the only finenesses legally recognized until 1854, when three lower fineness standards of 15, 12, and 9 were introduced. In British jewelry, the mark of a leopard, lion, or lion’s head has been in use since the 1500s, though its meaning has changed over time. At the time of this ring’s creation, the leopard’s head was the stamp for the London Assay Office, a mark that was introduced in 1822 and continues to date.

Materials: 18K gold; black enamel; diamond

Size: 6 1/4 (free sizing—contact us for sizing information)

Diamond: 1.31 carat Old Mine Cut diamond with approx. J-K color and SI1 clarity with a clean center—graded while mounted by a GIA GD. 


Item Q3476