No one did sentimentality quite like the Victorians and this brooch – included in the Victoria & Albert: Art & Love exhibition at Buckingham Palace in 2009 – triggered one of the more unusual jewellery fashions of the second half of the 19th century.
‘Mother’s jewellery’ from this period – rings, brooches, pins, necklaces and pendants embedded with children’s milk teeth – was evidently not uncommon but relatively little has survived. Those that have attract a small but dedicated international collecting audience.
The ring pictured above, set with seven teeth separated with small circular-cut diamonds, was among the most hotly contested lots in the Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) sale on July 19. Battled across the phone lines, the hammer fell at £3400 against an estimate of £200-300.
Remarkably, perhaps, the fashion for teeth jewellery may be on the rise. Mother’s jewellery is still made and worn, with actress Susan Sarandon the latest celebrity to have her offspring’s milk teeth made into a bracelet.