The Story Behind the Lover's Eye
Historically, style trends have been synonymous with fashion, but have you ever thought of jewelry trends? How did they start, and how are these trends being transformed today? Two genres of jewelry that inspire me are Lover's Eyes and the Momento Mori. I have blended and modernized these two concepts in my collections.
The Lover's Eye genre is among the most romantic in jewelry. It first appeared in the late 1700s when King George IV, then the Prince of Wales, gifted Maria Ann Fitzherbert a miniature portrait of his eye. Their relationship was forbidden due to British Law. His Eye portrait was the Prince's secret symbol of his love for her. Maria Ann reciprocated by gifting the Prince a piece of jewelry in the image of her eye. Despite this law, the lovers were secretly married and continued to give each other miniature portraits of their eyes. While the marriage did not last, the "Lover's Eye" trend gained popularity from 1790 - 1820.
The Momento Mori (Latin for 'remember that you must die') dates back to the ancients and reminds us of the inevitability of death. This concept continued through Christianity, appearing in funeral art, architecture, and jewelry from medieval times onward, peaking in popularity between the 14th - 18th centuries.
In the AK world, blending these two genres was inspired by a custom project with three cameos carved in the image of my client's father's, brother's, and cousin's eyes as a tender and symbolic reminder of eternal love. Today my clients also wear our memento mori eyes to remember that their loved one is looking out for them from above. Both sentiments are beautiful.
Michelle Pendleton, the owner of Pendleton Jewelers, commissioned the Eye Love Mini Necklace and Ring in the image of her father's eye. One piece will go to her daughter, and she will wear the other.