Gold and Diamond Reliquary Mourning Pendant - Emily Proudfoot

Customs We Love: Bluebells and Family Diamonds Reliquary Pendant

Memento Mori Mourning Necklace Pendant Charm with Ashes Inside and Heirloom Diamonds and Reclaimed Gold - Emily Proudfoot


After a decade of making jewellery, there's only a handful of times I can recall my nerves being completely shaken during the customs process. These moments are always when I have been entrusted with the precious remains of a loved one, or when I'm working with family heirlooms passed down through the generations.  

For my first completed custom project of 2024, I was tasked with creating a very special reliquary. Over time, my customer Rachel had collected various pieces of jewellery handed down through the family. This included two gold wedding bands and a statement ring littered with antique diamonds. The brief was to create a pendant reusing these pieces of jewellery and for it to hold the ashes of her late mother. 

I learnt very quickly that, unlike modern gemstones, each diamond was unique and cut ever so slightly unsymmetrically and in varying sizes so each setting had to be cut to match. This pendant was made of various components, one of which was a panel to hide away the secret ashes chamber inside, so making sure everything was a tight fit was key. 

Seven months, three samples and one extremely patient customer later, here it is. The central panel is adorned with her mothers favourite flower, a bluebell. Around the edge is a halo made up of over a hundred bright-cut engraved lines which gently shimmer and sparkle when the light hits. The pendant is finished with orbiting antique diamonds held in classic bezel settings.

One of my favourite mourning commissions to date! I think hidden chambers may have to become a reoccurring design feature in 2024 as working out how everything fit together, though arduous at times, was really interesting and satisfying once completed.





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