Mourning Ring Collection Spanning Over 100 Years could Sell for £20,000 at Fellows

One of the most extensive sets of connected mourning jewellery that has ever been seen in the UK is going under the hammer.

The incredible collection of 63 mourning rings was assembled from a number of families, friends and business partners over 100 years ago.

mourning rings

It has been kept and passed down several generations, never sold anywhere before.

People mourned include key contributors to the Anglican-Orthodoxy movement of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century in the Church of England. The dates range from the early 1700s to the mid 1800s.

The full set of Georgian and William IV gold and enamel mourning rings is likely to fetch in excess of £20,000 in our upcoming sale.

Elizabeth Snaith (1805-1890) gathered the rings in the 19th century. Moreover. The current owner is a descendant of the Snaith Family. The parents of the current owner passed the rings down ten years ago.

Each elaborate item of jewellery memorialises the death of an individual, and the full collection has an estimate of £15,000 – £20,000.

The History & the Individuals

Individuals include Henry Handley Norris (1771-1850) and John Watson (1767-1869), who were clergyman in the parish of Hackney. Moreover, there is also a ring mourning John’s brother, Joshua Watson (1771-1855), a merchant. The three were at the centre of the Hackney Phalanx and more widely the Oxford Movement.

At the start of the 1900s, the Hackney Phalanx was a group of Anglican High Churchmen who shared beliefs. In addition, they filled many of the higher posts of the Church of England. The Oxford Movement sought to revive Roman Catholic doctrines that had previously been dropped in the 1930s. Some of the rings going under the hammer mourned individuals from the Movement.

jewellery specialist

Ben Randall, Senior Specialist & Catalogue Manager at Fellows Auctioneers, said: I have worked in the jewellery business for many years and this is without a doubt the largest set of mourning jewellery I have ever seen. We have a list of the individuals relating to the rings which mainly includes established figures in the Hackney area during the Georgian period and later.”

“The full set has an estimate of £15,000 – £20,000 and I would not be surprised to see it receive many bids. It’s only when you feast your eyes on the family tree which lists the individuals that you can fully appreciate the sheer extent of the collection. The rings can be viewed in Birmingham and London on selected dates leading up to the auction, and I expect the set to be highly sought-after.”

Mourning Jewellery & the Auction

The incredible Georgian and William IV gold and enamel rings come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Furthermore, a family tree and a list of names relating to the 63 rings accompanies the lot.

The giving and wearing of mourning rings occurred widely in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

On occasion, wills would be written to include which family members would receive a mourning ring following someone’s death. In this case, many of the mourning rings were created using funds from wills, which were a token of appreciation.

The collection is Lot 234 in our Fine Jewellery sale. The auction will take place in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter on Thursday 30th September.

The live auction showcases the best jewellery that goes under the hammer.

We are offering free shipping on the purchase of items in the sale, subject to terms. Physical viewing days on selected dates will take place and virtual viewings can be booked.


Our valuations are free, with no obligation to sell with us. Our experts will value your item with an estimate, so you can find out what it could achieve at auction.

The process is simple, so you can get a valuation now:

Fill in a form online. In addition, you can book an appointment to visit our offices in Birmingham and London. Moreover you can book a virtual valuation appointment.

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