Memento mori skull ring
During the 17th century the practice of bequeathing rings belonging to the deceased to friends and family was gradually replaced by the custom of leaving a sum of money to buy commemorative mourning rings. Such rings were often distributed at the funeral service to be worn in memory of the deceased. ‘Memento mori’ [remember you must die] inscriptions and devices such as hourglasses, skulls and skeletons became fashionable on many types of jewellery, reminding the wearer of the brevity of life and the necessity of preparing for life in the world to come. This is a fine quality and weighty high carat gold memento mori skull ring dated 1712. The outer hoop is decorated in black enamel with a central skull motif between acanthus representing the Heavenly garden and thistle flowers, symbolising the Crown of Thorns. To interior are the details of the deceased : Sir Wm Hoskins Ob. 13 Aug 1712 aet 85, with a maker’s mark. Sir William Hoskins was Lord of the Manor of Oxted. The ring is size Q [US 8] and the band is 1/4 of an inch wide. In pristine and completely original condition.