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The Antique Jewellery Company

Victorian 18ct Gold & Bone Skull Memento Mori Pendant

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The Victorians had a fascination with death. After all it featured heavily in their lives from still births onwards. Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning “remember that you will die.” It also describes mourning jewellery from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Those mourning the dead would wear these items both to remember the dead and keep reminders of one’s own mortality. Close to the body Memento Mori jewellery offered a constant reminder of time and the fleeting gift of life. Decay of the tangible (the body) and the remainders of what once existed (the skeleton and skull) encompass the meaning of Memento Mori. Ultimately, Memento Mori jewellery is saying “Remember you must die and the hour will not be known”. The snakes represent Eternity in the afterlife. This pendant is a typical and rare surviver. The skull has been carved in bone and the two snakes are 18ct gold. It was made circa 1840-1880.

Written by Olly Gerrish

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Ollys Pick

Rare and sure to attract attention!

Date & Origin


Very Good




Gold Bone


Unmarked, tested to 18ct gold


Height 4.5cm
Skull height 1.9cm
Width 1.4cm

Item Number


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