Our RPG card game Shadowhand is set in the late 18th century. Then as now, jewellery was often symbolic, although tastes have changed in the last 250 years.
A lock of hair
Jewellery including woven hair from a loved one was very popular in the 18th century. In some cases these were memorial jewels with hair from someone who had died, but hair was not used exclusively in this way. Hair from a couple might be woven together, or sometimes a gift of hair jewellery was given with the giver’s initials included in the design, and a token of their hair inside.
Due to it’s unique properties, human hair can last hundreds or even thousands of years, which goes some way to explaining it’s use in jewellery as a lasting, sentimental material. In Shadowhand, this Heirloom Brooch is part of a deck of passive abilities, from which the player selects a mini-deck to suit their own playing strategy. It adds two zero cards to the draw pile, which gives a greater chance of getting a perfect score.
Rings with a secret compartment are also known as “poison rings”. Rings in Shadowhand each give the player an extra “undo,” which they can use either to put right a mistake, or to get a sneaky look at the next card in the stock pile.
A sign of affection
Lady Cornelia receives the gift of an affection ring from her dear companion Mariah, as Mariah attempts to flee from a scandal and leaves Lady Cornelia behind. Mariah’s ring is set with garnets, which are symbolic of a quick return and separated love: In Greek mythology, Hades tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds (the same colour as garnets) before she left him so that she would be compelled to return to him in the underworld for part of the year.
Eye see you
One of the most curious jewels of the Georgian era was the eye miniature. Admittedly this one is just a little ahead of it’s time since they became popular from the 1780s when the future George IV was known to own one. This part-portrait miniature was a secret gift for a lover, and was a private piece of jewellery.
In Shadowhand, the Eye Miniature power up confers a type of X-ray vision, which allows a player to plan ahead by seeing which card will be drawn next from the stock pile.