Victorian death jewelry. Never heard of it? Don't worry, you're not alone. The Victorians had some pretty strange ideas about things: like eating arsenic, which was supposed to make you have more beautiful skin.
They also had a macabre fascination with death and the rituals that surrounded it. Actually, I and a lot of other people find these sort of interesting-bordering on fascinating--but "death jewelry," was new to me. There were pieces of jewelry made in black, like the rose brooch above (for sale on ebay), but also jewelry made with hair of the deceased, or made to hold a lock of a loved one's hair.
This article on Gizmodo's site is fantastic and will give you a great overview of Victorian death jewelry. Short on time? Here are a few facts that I found most intriguing:
What do you think? Creepy, sweet or somewhere in between?
I find it interesting that some of these customs are coming back into vogue. Ashes from a loved one can now be added into glass products like paperweights, rings or pendants. There are lots of ways to memorialize your departed loved one or friend. Read more via this article on 23 Remarkable Things to Do With Ashes to Honor Your Loved One.
If you "suffer" from a love of cemeteries, there's a word to describe your condition: taphophilia. When a friend recently sent me a link to this great post, "6 Ways for Writers to Find Inspiration in a Graveyard," I was grateful. I love visiting cemeteries and graveyards and don't hesitate to admit it.
One of the most interesting things I've learned lately about gravestones, particularly those in Victorian times, is the symbolism that the stones featured. It's almost like a secret code. I appreciate how cool Victorians were in their interest in the deeper meaning of things. Flowers, for instance, had their own secret languages. So did color in dress...
But getting back to symbols on gravestones, here are some of the more popular symbols. Did you know that a broken column meant a life cut short? Or that a circle represented eternity while a broken flower indicated a sudden death? Ivy symbolized the memories of the deceased that would remain evergreen, while a bird in flight symbolized a spirit going toward heaven. One flying down meant being "with the Holy Spirit." In ancient Egyptian times, a serpent represented life and health. You can learn more about the symbols on gravestones on the BBC website or this blog, Cemetery Travels.
Today, I had the pleasure of guest posting over at the PacWest Bigfoot site. This is a really intriguing website, filled with first-person stories of Bigfoot encounters. David, the host of the website and head of the community there, notes that these stories are the perfect ones to tell around a campfire. He's also had his own Bigfoot encounter...
Please head over to check out the guest post and all of the interesting, spine-tingling stories that readers have shared at PacWest Bigfoot. You could even nab a cool Bigfoot t-shirt or some Sasquatch Coffee to really make your experience memorable.
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