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Jewelry made of hair?

Hi, Jewelry made of hair? Sounds interesting, I’ve never heard of
such a thing. What is it and where does it come from? hsqueenc

Hi, Jewelry made of hair? Sounds interesting, I’ve never heard of
such a thing. What is it and where does it come from? hsqueenc

Huh?! What? You’ve never heard of hairloom jewelry?

Bruce D. Holmgrain
e-mail: @Bruce_Holmgrain

phone:: 703-593-4652

  Hi, Jewelry made of hair? Sounds interesting, I've never
heard of such a thing. What is it and where does it come from?

Very popular victorian tradition. Hair from loved ones, living
or departed, was often braided into nice little patterns, and set
underneath a glass or crystal cap, like a stone, or placed in
lockets like a photograph might have been. Or, simply
woven/knotted/braided etc, much like macrame, into stand alone
items without metal. Check the library for references to
victorian era jewelry, and you’ll find lots of fascinating stuff.
If you ever happen to be in the Detroit area, the greenfield
village/Henry ford museum has some very nice examples…

Peter Rowe

Hi, Check out Jeweler’s Circular-Keystone, February, 1990,
Heritage section, Pg. 282 article written by Anita & Phil. London

Jewelry, and Baskets out of hair, by the Southwest Native
Americans, for hundreds of years!

Dancing Horse

It’s called mourning jewelry. It’s Victorian, popularized by
HRH Queen Victoria in her mourning of Albert. The jewelry
features hair from the beloved, usually braided. It started out
more inside of little glass cases. As it gained in popularity,
horse hair was used and braided into bracelets.

You can see it in historical books and antique shops.

Chicago, Illinois, US
Great Lakes
Pleasant rainstorm

Hi, There is a piece of Hair or mourning Jewelry on my site if
you would like to take a look, one side is a blue enamel and the
other side is hair under a beveled glass, some of the jewelry was
braided in very elaborate patterns and was boiled or cleaned
first so it would help preserve it from any parasites that would
make it deteriorate(that is what I had read). They also made
bracelets and necklaces out of just hair with metal or gold
findings, sometimes they did not survive as well do the delicate
nature of the pieces.

Antique & Estate Jewelry & Antiques

   Hi, Jewelry made of hair? Sounds interesting, I've never
heard of such a thing. What is it and where does it come from?

Hair jewelry, also known as mourning or memorial jewelry,
commemorates the memory of a deceased loved one, and very
popular during Victorian times. The hair is worked into various
designs, including “open weave”, “prince of wales” etc., and
enclosed in lockets and brooches or made into rings, watch fobs,

Hairwork or plating is still being done today, particularly in
some of the Scandinavian countries. I must have missed the
original post to this, but I collect these old items, so if
anyone has these to sell, please write to me privately.

Many thanks.


I recently wrote an article on Hair work jewelry for the “VFCJ"
newsletter (Vintage Fashion and Costume Jewelry)… Hair
jewelry is exactly what it sounds like: jewelry made of human
hair. Popularized during the reign of Queen Victoria after the
death of her beloved Prince Albert, the Queen had many items made
from locks of his hair ( also a bracelet of baby teeth made from
her many children), and the British followed suit, turning it
into a cottage industry. The trend was also piqued during the
civil war era in this country, and hair work served as a memento
from a beloved going off to war, or a mourning symbol. It’s
roots, however, can be found in Scandinavian countries, though
hairwork has a long and ‘tangled’ history. It is reported that
the Scandinavian women began this craft during an extended period
of drought, many leaving their villages to travel throughout
Europe earning a living through the craft. You can find many
references on this subject in books such as Christie Romero’s
"Warmans Jewelry”, and comming out this past June was a book by
Jeanne Bell, “Collectors Encyclopedia to Hairwork Jewelry”.
For additional you should check out Marlys
Fladelands site at, where the Hairwork Society
can tell you more about the subject than you ever imagined. My
article should soon be on there, or contact me for copies. Best,

Gail Selig, G.G., M.Ed.
Member, Society of Jewelry Historians

Hello Dancing Horse, Can you give me any history on this? Human
or Horse hair? Patterns, etc? Gail

Human hair was also used by Hawaiians (and maybe other Pacific
Islanders?), who would collect hair from friends and loved ones
and weave it together (at least that’s the story I heard). I’ve
seen thick, supple ropes made from it holding a heavy stone

~kara (greatly enjoying the ‘heat’ wave in San Francisco - weather has been
perfect for days - still haven’t made it to the beach, though!)

Since the subject came up…

I am currently working on a hair jewelry piece. A customer of
mine had a lock of her grandmother’s hair that she wanted set in
a pendant. I didn’t do any fancy hair weaving like you might see
in the Victorian mourning jewelry - just braided it and set it in
between 2 pieces of glass in a 22K setting with seed pearls and
garnets. Here is a picture of it (not finished yet):


Jill Alessandra Jewelry

Good morning Gail, I have also written an article on hair
jewelry, published in JCK 2/90, Heritage section, pg 287. Would
you be good enough to send me a copy of your article, and advise
where I could get a copy of the book you mentioned. I have a
wealth of that I have gatheed over the years, If
interested I might be able to photo copy some of it and send it
snail mail. It is nice to know that there are others interested
in this subject. I have just been asked to give a lecture to a
group of men. My wife & I have done this many times. I believe you
were asking about horse hair, I have a wreath of human hair and
in the center is a much smaller wreath the shape of a horseshoe
and this hair is colored, and I have been given to understand
that when someone wanted to introduce color in a hair piece they
used horsehair? One more thing regarding the wreaths we refer to
them as generation pieces, primarily most really have samples of
many generations in a given family.

Hello Phil!

I apologize for not replying sooner, we’re getting ready to go
on vacation and I’m behind on my email. I’d be happy to send
you a copy of the piece I wrote or fax it to you. Some time
after I wrote it, I believe I found your article, which I thought
was much more detailed than the piece I wrote, but was so happy
to have discovered yet another source of

I believe the book I mentioned was Jeanne Bells new book “The
Encyclopedia of Hair work jewelry”, but I don’t know exactly
what the title is now. I should be getting it any day, to review
for the SJH (Society of Jewelry Historians) newsletter, so I’ll
let you know when I do. One person Jeanne interviewed for the
book was Leila Cohoon, owner of Leila’s Hair Museum which holds
over 2000 pieces of her private collection! Phil, might I ask how
you got into collecting and learning about this form of jewelry?
If you could share any other or resources/references
with me, I’d be most appreciative. Although it’s for personal
interest, this is a subject that is so fascinating to me that I
hope to continue to collect I wish I had the
means to collect the objects themselves, but I think prices have
really gone up in recent years. Anyway, send me your snail mail or
fax and I’ll get this off to you. Have a great week!

Gail Selig

Hi Gail,

Hopoe you have nice time on your Holiday, Snail mail address,
8424 Monarch Circle, Seminole, Fl. 33772-3903 I have so much
and I really don’t know how to get it to you. Right
now I am in the middle of getting out a newsletter for the
Florida Society of Goldsmiths. however as soon as I have
completed this chore, I will get back to you. Incidentally, I have
given a great deal of thought about joining the Jewelry
Historians, but being in Florida I really don’t think I could
benefit by joining, perhaps some day we can consider starting a
group here in Florida. Have Fun.