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John Carnan of Baltimore

An 18th century mourning hoop, dated 1761. The high carat gold scrolled hoop is inscribed in gold letters reserved on a ground of black enamel with the details of the deceased : John Carnan Ob 1 Dec 1761 Ae : 34. The centre of the ring has a table-cut rock crystal compartment containing a weave of hair. The ring is typically English, yet the gentleman it commemorates was American. John Carnan, of British heritage, was born, lived and died in Baltimore, Maryland. He married Achsah Ridgely from the prominent Ridgely family of Baltimore County. By the 18th century the family had amassed twenty-four thousand acres of land and built one of the largest and grandest mansions in the country. One of John and Achsah's children was Charles Ridgely Carnon, who became the 15th Governor of the state of Maryland. John Carnan's death was reported in the Maryland Gazette in 1761 : Carnan, John, merchant, died Dec. 1 in Balto. Town in the prime of his life. So, is this mourning ring British or American? Given Carnan's English heritage was it made in the UK and sent to the US, or, as the family were vastly wealthy was it commissioned from an American jeweller? I have discussed it with Sarah Nehama who is a specialist in American mourning jewellery and her conclusion is that it could be either British or American. We will never know.... The ring is size N [US 6 and 1/2] and the hoop is 1/8 of an inch wide. Very fine quality and immaculate.

£1950


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nehama
Two similar rings images courtesy of Sarah Nehama, one English or American, one American.

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