Fire at Sea…

I’m feeling quite transfixed by this mourning ring from the late 1700’s. I find most mourning jewelry to be unbelievably gorgeous and sweetly maudlin keepsakes, but this one hits home a bit more.

I’ve always wished that I could have known my great-grandfather, James Francis Kennedy. He couldn’t swim and perished aboard the SS Morro Castle in 1934 when the luxury liner caught fire on its return voyage from Cuba. The ruby pinkie ring from a great-grandfather I never met is one of my most cherished possessions–I think it’s because my grandmother (Honey Kennedy) loved him so much. Her mother, my Nana Ellen, survived the disaster, but their lives were changed forever because of this loss. He died not too long after the photo below was taken at their bungalow in Hamilton Beach, Queens.

I love mourning jewelry because you can see the great care and intention that goes into each unique, handmade piece. This 18K gold sepia on ivory ring from Erie Basin is such a beautiful example.

top image courtesy of Erie Basin, bottom image part of The McCabe Family Estate

4 Responses to “Fire at Sea…”
  1. Melissa says:

    Oh my god, this is so beautiful creepy (maudlin is the perfect word). I love it. I want my entire jewelry collection to be mourning pieces only.

  2. Angeliska says:

    So beautiful! I love mourning jewelry, and I loved reading this sad and lovely tale… Treasures.