Mourning jewelry was a popular way for affluent women to memorialize a loved one in the eighteenth century. Individuals often provided funding in their wills for family members and friends to have rings, brooches and other items made. Family history suggests this ring was worn by Martha Washington. It may have honored the memory of her nephew George Augustine Washington, who died in 1793. In his will he bequeathed: "to my Aunt Martha Washington … a ring of 5 Guineas value to be wrought with some of my hair in token of my affectionate remembrance."


Oval set gold mourning ring embellished with pearls and hair. Shank and setting cast in one piece. Interior lined with two paper backings supporting a lock of hair covered by a crystal set into a bezel surrounded by eighteen seed pearls.

B: Red leather, square ring box.


c. 1770-1802



Gold, pearl, crystal, human hair, paper


Overall: 5/8 in. x 1/2 in. x 3/4 in. (1.59 cm x 1.27 cm x 1.91 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Gertrude Hunt Knox, 1954

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Support Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save