HistoryWired About the Program Help Comments Smithsonian Institution
back
Mourning customs, 1800s

During the early 1800s, life ceremonies, such as weddings, christenings, and funerals became increasingly ceremonial and sentimental. Death rituals expanded and family members were expected to go into extended periods of mourning. Women, in particular, marked their period of mourning by wearing "mourning clothes," characterized by being of unrelieved and matte black during the early stages of mourning. (Shiny black clothes were not mourning clothes; they were just regular clothes.) During the period of deep mourning, only matte black jewelry could be worn. But, as the period of mourning lengthened, women could wear mourning jewelry such as this mourning brooch set with gold. Mourning for distant family members might immediately include jewelry such as this piece.

 



Start HistoryWired | About the Program | Help | Comments

Smithsonian Institution | Terms of Use | Privacy