16 August, 2010
History of Hair Jewelry
All the Rage
Victorians were big on hair jewelry, notes Morninggloryantiques.com. This jewelry was made out the hair itself, with other adornments attached, and given to loved ones. This jewelry wasn't worn in the hair necessarily but as a broach, with the hair of the loved one preserved under glass in the broach, or as a necklace or bracelet.
When someone died during the Victorian age, it was not unusual to have a jewelry maker or hair weaver fashion a piece of hair jewelry from the deceased's person hair. This type of jewelry was considered "momento mori" or a mourning piece.
When hair jewelry was created, it was woven or intricately curled. There was generally an inscription on the back of the broach or other piece of jewelry to specify to whom the hair belonged.
Passion for Long Hair
The Victorians were very fond of long hair on women because it was perceived as increasing the woman's dowry worth and femininity and was considered a sign of her female virtue, explains Gailcarringer.livejournal.com.
Hair was actually collected by the Victorians and placed in jars. These jars are called diagnostic artifacts by archaeologists. Their existence was confined to a brief period of time in Europe and also somewhat in America. Hair was collected and saved in these jars and then later sent to be made into extra stuffing for a bun or into a fall or for some hair attachment that would be used when a woman was sporting a fancy up do. These special hair jars are indicative of the Victorian era, when the obsession with hair ran rampant.
Out of Vogue
Hair jewelry was in fashion during the 19th century and for a while during the early part of 20th century, but it became unpopular during the Roaring Twenties, when women cut their hair short for the first time.
Hair jewelry can also refer to jewelry that is put in a person's hair. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones is noteworthy for his penchant for dangling charms and jewels that he attaches to his hair.