Hair jewelry? Yes, made from hair…many times human hair, sometimes horse hair. The jewelry pictured above is from the collection of Tammy Butler, President of the March to Destiny. http://www.marchtodestiny.org/
She kindly loaned items from her collection to Shippensburg Historical Society http://www.shippensburghistory.org/ to display during this year’s March to Destiny. As her notes state, many people find the practice of using a deceased loved one’s hair in a piece of jewelry to be macabre. But the people of the Victorian era were very different in their thinking than we are today. Mourning went on for as much as a year in some cases, depending on who the deceased person was, and was closely watched by others to see that the mourning procedures were carried out correctly.
Here’s a very informative Wikipedia article about hair jewelry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_jewelry
One of the merchants in the village at March to Destiny was Lucy Cadwallader, who specializes in Victorian hair jewelry. Here are some of her hair jewelry items:
And some other Victorian jewelry items Lucy had on display:
Tammy Butler also included some “fashion” books to show the types of clothing worn during that era.
I must admit that before I saw these pieces of jewelry, I knew very little about hair jewelry. Just one more reason for people to come to next year’s March to Destiny: you can learn all sorts of things, plus have a great time, and commemorate our history.