Brooch containing human hair, Europe, 1701-1900

Made:
1701-1900 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

Brooch, containing hair and thread and pearls, arranged on a pearly background, mounted in an oval metal frame and covered with glass, fastener missing

Human hair is contained in this gold brooch. The jewellery is encased in a gold frame and on a pearly background. Such ‘hairwork’ was a craft often associated with mourning in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. This is because much jewellery contained intricately moulded locks of hair from a departed loved one. The brooch was also a memento mori. These objects remind the living of both the dead and the fragility of life. Women in Victorian Britain were permitted to wear hairwork jewellery in the ‘second stage’ of mourning. This began a year and a day after the loved one's death.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A642443
Materials:
glass, hair, metal, paper and thread
type:
human remains
taxonomy:
  • human remains
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume
  • jewellery
  • pin - jewelry

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