History of Cremation Jewelry
Cremation Jewelry for ashes has a long and somewhat obscure history, but has gained popularity in recent years. When Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, died of typhoid in 1861, she went into mourning. She remained in full mourning for three years, as did her court.
It was in this period when the beginnings of cremation jewelry came about. At the time, it was called mourning jewelry and did not hold ashes: it was more symbolic than today’s cremation jewelry.
The first mourning jewelry to incorporate bodily remains featured intricately woven hair. Most people today use cremation jewelry to hold a portion of ashes, but many still prefer to use hair instead. Another element that contributed to the development of modern cremation jewelry was hair art; hair art is the ancient practice of creating wreaths, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, bonnets and other decorative accessories entirely from human hair. The pieces resemble intricate crochet work, but without the thickness and coarseness of crocheting thread and with a much more elaborate weave.
Popular in England during the Victorian era and in the United States during the Civil War, hair work was a symbolic art that served as a keepsake or a "love token" to show affection, commemorate the loss of a loved one or to keep a loved one close during times of physical separation. Cremation was not popular in this era, so it is no wonder why hair was used as the first jewelry keepsakes, and during times of mourning. When people died, hair was often clipped from the head of a deceased person and then woven into a bonnet that would be given to the next of kin. This is very similar to the way cremation jewelry for ashes is used today.
Cremation jewelry for ashes faded out of use and did not resurface until March of 1992. Madelyn Saxer’s zest for living and her ability to embrace death led to the concept of the Keepsake Pendant as a symbol of continuing love. It functioned as a reassuring remembrance to keep close to one’s heart. Madelyn Company was born out of a need, and today’s cremation jewelry pendants are all descendants of the first cremation jewelry pendants created by the family of Madelyn. Here at Cremation Solutions we still proudly offer the products of Madelyn Company. They were the first to market cremation jewelry to the funeral industry and they are still leaders in cremation jewelry innovation today.
Cremation Jewelry for ashes is like this unique urn-shaped brooch with a locket back. This is an example of the very first cremation jewelry concept that is widely accepted today. Perhaps this cremation urn brooch was created to hold a loved one’s hair, cremated remains or possibly a photo. The brooch is a low karat rose gold and is decorated with turquoise and seed pearls.