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April 17, 2021

Here’s a Victorian Mourning Ring With Glass Eye of the Deceased From the 19th Century

This Victorian mourning ring from the late 19th century was made from the deceased person’s glass eye.

According to Dr Lindsey Fitzharris, the first in-socket artificial eyes made in the 15th century were gold with colored enamel. In the latter part of the 16th century, the Venetian glass artisans discovered a formula that could be tolerated inside the eye socket. These early glass eyes were crude, uncomfortable to wear, and very fragile. Even so, the Venetian method was considered the finest in the world.

In the mid-19th century, glass artisans in Thuringia, a region in eastern Germany, developed a superior glass formula for the making of artificial eyes. Glass eye making was introduced in the United States in the mid-1800s by immigrant German ocularists. In the 1940s, glass was replaced by plastics, which were more comfortable for the wearer and lasted longer.


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