Posted 12 years ago
My pin, an heirloom from someone from my mother's family, started my interest in Victorian jewelry. Who can resist learning about people who made jewelry out of hair? Although many people think that these were only made for mourning jewelry (yay, dead people's hair!!), that's not true. You can see there are 2 colors of hair in this pin. For many Victorian women, hair weaving was simply a fashionable pastime. They even collected their own hair in porcelain "hair receivers". Blech! Blond hair was more highly prized, so a piece combining dark & light hair is special.
The various levels of complexity in hair weaving has lead to many different styles of jewelry. This pin has an even, but rather loose weave. For sturdier pieces, such as watch chains, they used horse hair and a very tight, thick rope-like weave. I have a pair of earrings (photos coming later) that are extremely tightly woven into delicate dangling open tear-drop shapes. Of course, a lot of hair jewelry was made as a memento of the dear departed. They also had lockets & rings with compartments holding simple locks of hair.
Since Queen Victoria was really into that mourning thing, women had to come up with ingenious ways to entertain & adorn themselves. Hair jewelry, although seeming rather morbid & bizarre to us, allowed them to be creative without seeming frivolous. Boy, were they glad when the Edwardian era came in!!!