..............AND WHEREVER ELSE THAT LEADS ME...............

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Victorian Mourning Hair Jewelry

In Memory Of.....................................
                A few mourning pieces I have found lately:

I particularly like this pin, I think because it is
a rectangle . Most of the ones I find seem to be ovals.
This pin has a black enamel front, and 
what looks to be sterling back, although it isn't marked.
The hair is a brown color and is
arranged in a loosely woven knot.

It is monogramed on the back with the name
A.R. Moore.

This second pin is about 1 inch wide,
9k gold,  with a little beveled glass top.
The hair is brown with maybe a couple of blonde hairs (?) 
It is laid inside in casual loops.

It's a bit hard to read, but my best guess is .......
Marg Sarah
Lady Morris
obt 17, Jan 1842.
(There is a mark of some kind after Marg, 
I wonder if that is short for Margaret?)

I am not sure what metal this third pin is made of. It measures
about 5/8 by 7/8 inches.
I think it was a pin at one time and was converted
to a watch fob piece or a pendant.
The hair is blonde and is laid out in
a nice braid similar to the first pin.
No name on the back.

These are all examples of
Victorian hair jewelry.
Are they all mourning pieces?
Again hard to say, but I think it's a safe bet that the second
pin is for sure.

This last piece I found is a button.....................
it measures about 3/4 inch in diameter.

The young mans face feels like a photo that was
carefully molded around a button form.

The back is cloth and has a loop
for sewing it to a piece of clothing.
There is no way to know if this is a mourning piece
or if "he" was going to be separated for a while
from someone that loved him and
wanted a love token or a memento.

Hair jewelry and hair art was very popular in
The Victorian Era.
Queen Victoria wore several rings which were made from the
hair of her husband the deceased Prince Albert.
For the Victorians death was a common and accepted part of
their everyday life.
Not only was the infant mortality rate higher,
adults died at earlier ages of ailments that are more easily cured these days.
Then of course for Americans the Civil War
took its toll as well.
Some pieces were done as " momento mori"
("remember you must die")
and some were made as love tokens
between sweethearts and also between family members or best friends.
Although some were made by professional jewelers ,
there were kits available for people that wanted
to try their hand at making their own.

While I am sure there are some that would find these
  hair pieces morbid,
I think they are fascinating pieces of history,
little reminders that give clues to life as it was before the
turn of the century.

A couple of interesting "hair facts":

*The most expensive celebrity hair ever sold was that
of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara,
which was taken from him by a CIA operative.
It sold in 2007 for $119,000.

*Hair from Elvis was sold by his personal barber for
$115.120. It went to an anonymous buyer during an
online auction Nov.15,2002.

*Hair from John lennon sold for $48,000.




  1. I enjoy your posts here so much. They are so informative. Of course I knew nothing about all of this. Very interesting. I think it would be very cool if people started doing this again. Where do you find such pieces?? amazing!!

  2. Great post! those pieces are awesome! When will you open your museum? ;)
    My fav is the first one!
    Gayle, really with all the knowledge you have, you should write a book... I am not kidding!

  3. This is so unique...I never knew these existed...I think it is nice they had little mementos like this for remembrance..Great post Gayle...:)

  4. What a great collection, you can still find mourning pieces but they are hard to locate usually you just luck up on them. Down south at times several dealers will have a few pieces but not regularly and most don't know what they have. I would guess your right about the pieces. They are simple primative pieces of art showing the love and devotion of the owner. I think these pieces are harder to find. Thanks for sharing. Kathy