c.1790-1820: Georgian Eye Jewellery “Eye miniatures came into fashion at the end of the 18th century. In France, where eye miniature seems to have originated, the eye as symbol of watchfulness was adopted by the state police for buckles and belts. In Britain it had a role as a love token, with some eye miniatures glistening with a trompe-l’oeil tear, or a diamond set to imitate a tear. V and A M
This ring dates from 1728; the absolute height of the memento mori style. It not only features the affectation of the ‘coffin’ shaped crystal, but it encapsulates the skeleton inlaid in black enamel around the band. Further to this, the element of the full skeleton inside the coffin crystal completes the sentiment. There is nowhere on the jewel that death is not represented.