Cherished : Andrew Kirkwood, d.1834 age 17

Mourning rings are frequently imbued with loaded emotional energy, and as such not every mourning ring appeals to everyone – the feelings have to be in sympathy with our own. This one captured my heart and held it. The feelings of jubilance, adventure and beauty are abundant. There is a sweet nostalgia for the past too, but it is a fond memory looked back upon with joy.

The ring is in the classic late Georgian style, with ornate rococo shoulders and a reeded band. The face of the ring features a halo of large split pearls which all appear to be original to the ring – they fit the setting perfectly and nestle in close to each other. They are well matched in colour, pearly white in appearance and have their full nacre. The central opal is truly magnificent: a tiny oasis of tropical waters, the pearls pristine white dunes & the bright 18ct rococo shoulders an absolute delight. The magic opal is a high-domed solid Australian crystal opal – probably from Coober Pedy, & would have replaced the original hair compartment. It is of exceptional quality, predominantly blue and green, with swirls of pink and orange in the sunshine.

The inscription on the back of the ring reads

Andrew Kirkwood
died 14th Nov. 1834
Aged 17

From this I have been able to trace Andrew via online genealogy websites. Andrew was born in the coastal town of Dunbar in Scotland in 1817. He was the sixth child ( of a total of eight children) of  William and Catharine Kirkwood.

I’ve been able to (theoretically) trace this rings journey from Scotland to Australia on the hand of Andrew’s nephew – a famous landscape painter by the name of Henry William Kirkwood who moved from Scotland to New Zealand with his wife & spent his life traveling & painting glorious pictures, some of which are in the collection of the New Zealand National Gallery.(You can see some of Henry’s paintings online here.) Harry & one of his sons moved to Australia in 1924 & from there the story is unknown.

I like to imagine that Harry commissioned the opal replacement – perhaps the bright blue reminded him of the beauty of the waters in Victoria Harbour in Dunbar 💙 and the big family he left behind in Scotland.


Absolutely stunning mourning ring from the very late Georgian period in 18ct yellow gold.

Rococo shoulders and a halo of natural pearls surrounding a high domed Australian Crystal opal cabochon.

Engraved to the back of the head of the ring.

Aus/UK size N
USA size 7
Resizing is not recommended.

Additional information


late Georgian circa 1834

Ring Size

Aus/UK size N
USA size 7


Resizing is not recommended due to the reeded band.
A skilled bench jeweller may be able to resize this ring, but please only take it to someone with extensive experience working on antique jewellery.


18ct yellow gold – unmarked but verified by xrf test
natural pearls
solid Australian crystal opal cabochon