A Memento Mori Ring With A Diamond Flower Top Opening to Reveal an Enameled Skull c.1600s. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Vanitas translates into 'remember you must die'. Symbols such as coffins, skeletons, skulls and engravings were often used in sixteenth and seventeenth century jewelry as a reminder and a warning that eventually we all must die. These symbols were featured in Memento Mori jewelry and were often wrought in gold and black enamel, accented with gemstones.