Mourning glory

Charles 3 Comments

By our funeral historian, Richard Rawlinson

Ashes into Glass is a jewellery company that inserts cremation ashes into crystal glass rings, pendants, earring and cufflinks. See the results here

“It has helped me feel a little calmer about losing my dear Mum by knowing that a little part of her is always with me,” says Teresa Evans Mortimer in one of the customer testimonials.

There’s something rather Victorian about companies marketing their products specifically at the bereaved (bereaved people). Queen Victoria made jet beads soar in popularity along with lockets holding curls of hair from deceased loved ones. 

Stationers such as Henry Rodrigues of Piccadilly offered black bordered note paper and envelopes, and the London General Mourning Warehouse advertised in The Times (1 November 1845) that “millinery, dresses, cloaks, shawls, mantles, &c., of the best quality can be purchased at the most reasonable prices.” Such an emporium would be a Goth’s paradise today.

Then again, when Victoria died, the Secretary to the Drapers’ Chamber of Trade, wrote to The Times (26 January 1901) to suggest that the 12 months of Court Mourning would profoundly impact on the retail drapery trade which ordered colourful cloth three or four months in advance. 

Ironically, although expected to mourn, women were generally advised against attending funerals. Cassell’s Household Guide for 1878 discourages the practice pointing out that it is something done by female relatives in the poorer classes.


  1. Charles

    Apparently ( a flute restorer once told me) it was customary, in the proper Victorian circles, for thin black leather gloves to be worn at a funeral, and then discarded. They would then be snapped up by flute makers because the high quality leather made excellent pads for the underside of flute keys.

    It’s an ill wind…

  2. Charles

    “Such an emporium would be a Goth’s paradice today.”…..You haven’t been to Whitby recently, have you?
    Come to think of it, neither have I…really must do something about that!

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