Kate at Needled published a thoughtful post about the reinvention of remnants and oddments as jewellery: by turning the recovered scraps of things and people into new objects to wear about our bodies, we both transform them into new objects and keep the ghosts of their old forms about us. A picture, a button, a miniature portrait – all these things can be “a tiny detail that, because it is broken from its context, can now be looked at, scrutinised, properly treasured.”

Kate compares mourning jewellery of the nineteenth-century with the found-object aesthetic. The idea of loss and partial recovery followed by reinvention is constantly replayed and reconsidered in Victorian writers’ responses to bereavement. (Thomas Hardy used an epigraph from Virgil at the head of his Poems of 1912-3, the sequence marking the death of his wife Emma: veteris vestigia flamae – ashes of an old fire, sparks from an old flame.) Continue reading