Georgian skull mourning ring
A Georgian mourning ring for Thomas Barnes. The high carat scrolled shank is inscribed with the details of the deceased in gold letters reserved on a black enamel ground : Tho : Barnes Ob. 24 Jan 1737/8 AET 59 . The central silver compartment is set with a skull device on a weave of hair under faceted rock crystal. The ring is size L [US 5 and 1/2] and immaculate. The unusual date format of 1737/8 on this ring is due to the system of ‘dual dating’ that was informally adopted in England to avoid confusion with other European calendars. At the time other European countries were working on a different calendar to that of the English – the English were still using 25th March as the legal start to a new year, whereas much of Europe (including Scotland) commenced the new year on January 1st. Until the English brought their calendar in line with convention through the Calendar Act of 1750, the system of ‘dual dating’ was used on dates in that early part of the year (between January 1st and March 25th) that would fall in one year on the English calendar, and the following year on the European calendar.