Grandma on a Chain

What do you think about “cremains jewelry” (made, perhaps obviously, from the remains of a cremated loved one)?  If you’ve given it any thought at all.

I’m not a big fan. What if the chain broke as you passed over a grate in the sidewalk?  What if the necklace got caught in a subway door?  What if you had to discuss, all day long, the significance of the cross/vial/amulet/cowboy boot you were wearing and explain why grandma had been forever relegated to that one symbol?

Back when I had an eBay business, I used to sell whatever a client needed sold.  And something I encountered were memorial pieces made from human hair — crosses, family trees, decorative art.  This was quite the trend in Victorian times.

Maybe the impulse is similar.  But to me, hair is something that I could see displaying artistically whereas ashes should be preserved (or buried or inurned) in a more dignified way.  If I had a necklace made from a favorite great-aunt,  I think I’d feel guilty for not wearing it on the days it simply did not match my ensemble.

As I was thinking about this, I unearthed (somehow that sounds like a pun) a Museum of Mourning Art in Pennsylvania dedicated to — you guess it — “mourning art.”  You can be sure that I will be visiting before too long (road trip!).  One feature there is mourning jewelry, including three rings commissioned by 18th century Anglican-Methodist revival-leading priest George Whitefield (Whitfield) FOR HIS EXECUTIONERS.   I have to get to the bottom of that story; does anyone know more? Googling is not yielding anything helpful about his death by execution or said rings.

So it seems that jewelry and death have long been linked.  Yet I still don’t want to wear grandma on a chain.


~ by Cary on May 29, 2010.

One Response to “Grandma on a Chain”

  1. I knew about the Victorian hair jewelery. What is this, a little vial of ashes to wear around your neck? Yeah, creepy. Reminds me of an ad I saw that also creeped me out. You could send in the ashes of your deceased loved one and have them turned into an artificial diamond. No thanks! Can’t help you out on the Whitefield rings, but let me know if you find out – sounds like an interesting story!

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