What is a Mourning Fob? A Tribute to Grief and Remembrance

Intriguing, isn't it? Mourning fobs, exquisite pieces of jewelry steeped in history, have a story to tell. These unique accessories served as a tangible expression of grief during the Victorian era when mourning practices were an essential part of society. In this article, we'll unravel the fascinating tale behind a particular mourning fob, which features a black ribbon adorned with a gold-plated Kia Ora shield and a 9ct gold-capped Mako shark tooth, likely dating back to around 1910. Could this piece have connections to WW1 and the loss of a New Zealand soldier, possibly from the Maori Pioneer Battalion? Join us on this journey of discovery.

The Era of Mourning Practices

The Victorian era was marked by elaborate mourning customs. People openly displayed their grief after losing a loved one, wearing specific clothing and accessories as a sign of mourning. Mourning fobs like the one we're exploring here were a significant part of this tradition.

A Unique Mourning Fob

This particular mourning fob is a remarkable find. It features a black ribbon, a symbol of mourning, beautifully adorned with a gold-plated Kia Ora shield and a 9ct gold-capped Mako shark tooth. Our estimate places its origin around 1910, raising intriguing questions about its historical significance, especially in connection with WW1 and the potential loss of a New Zealand soldier, perhaps from the Maori Pioneer Battalion.

The Symbolism of the Shark Tooth

The inclusion of the Mako shark tooth in this mourning fob adds another layer of significance. It might be a reference to the Maori proverb, "Kaua e Mate Wheke, Me Mate Ururoa," which translates to "Do not die like an Octopus, die like a Hammerhead shark." This proverb carries profound meaning, suggesting strength, resilience, and a warrior's spirit. Was this mourning fob a tribute to a fallen soldier who exemplified these qualities?

A Token of Remembrance and Respect

Mourning fobs like this one were not merely accessories; they were heartfelt tokens of remembrance and respect. Wearing them was a way to express grief and honor the memory of the departed. They allowed people to carry their loved ones' spirits with them, serving as a source of solace during challenging times.

Intrinsically linked to the Victorian mourning traditions, this mourning fob offers a glimpse into a bygone era when grief was openly acknowledged and expressed. Its unique design and potential connections to WW1 and the Maori Pioneer Battalion make it a remarkable piece of history.

As we continue to explore the stories behind these intriguing relics of the past, we're reminded that each piece of mourning jewelry carries with it a poignant narrative, a testament to the enduring power of memory and love. The mourning fob, with its Kia Ora shield and Mako shark tooth, stands as a symbol of respect and remembrance, a timeless tribute to those we hold dear.
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