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Braided Hair…Love Token!

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A very unique form of mourning jewelry during the Victorian era was braided hair jewelry. A lock of hair from the deceased was often hidden away in a locket worn close to the heart. Many brooches were made with the hair kept under glass to protect their loved ones in “another place”. These items were referred to a memento mori which is Latin to ” reflect on the transitory nature of life” or more so in our terms “be mindful of death”.

Not all braided hair jewelry was for mourning. Since hair was incredibly personal, women would braid locks of hair from their husbands or fiances as a love token.

The braided hair bracelet circa 1860 is one such item. Many hours were spent entwining each hair to form the intricate masterpiece. Young ladies practiced this art much as they did when embroidering for samplers.

An insight into a lost art. A word to the significant others and husbands…beware the woman with a scissor!

Boyle Antique & Vintage Jewelry
reprinted with permission


Written by Kim CranberryManor

March 24, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Posted in Jewelry Reference

4 Responses

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  1. Great post, Alicia! Love the ending!
    Do you know — is there any way to repair hair jewelry?


    March 24, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    • Hi Roni,

      Alas, there is no repair that I know of. Some people have tried singeing the ends but I would be afraid of the whole piece catching fire! It truly is a lost art and so time consuming. Up to 80 strands of hair were twisted to begin just one plait…amazing!

      Alicia @ boylerpf

      March 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm

  2. Lovely article, very informative and thoughtfully written. Superb pictures, BTW!



    March 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

  3. Thank You so much Alicia for sharing this wonderful info!


    March 25, 2010 at 2:55 am

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