In the seventeenth century, Puritans sent gold rings to close family members and friends that often had symbols, such as a winged skull referred to as a “death’s head” or a skeleton.
By the nineteenth century, such symbols had disappeared and the hair of the deceased was incorporated into the jewelry.
Photography changed the ways in which people commemorated loved ones. Prior to photography, grieving family retained a lock of hair to keep the memory of a person no longer with them.
With photography, family could now keep an image to memorialize a loved one, which shifted mourning culture from jewelry toward momento mori photography in which photographs were taken of a person after they had died, often posed seated in chairs and appearing life-like.