Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hair, Beautiful Hair

Back in the Victorian and Edwardian days, mourning was very fashionable. If you were a woman who were close to someone who died, you were required to wear black for a certain period of time- some widows wore black for the rest of their lives. (Men, I believe, were largely excluded from this practice- men have always been much more encouraged to wear clothing for practical, as opposed to symbolic or aesthetic reasons.) Mourning jewelery, made of dark stones like jet or onyx was very popular, and so was jewelery made of hair.

Hair jewelery was sometimes made from the hair of departed love ones, but sometimes it was meant to symbolize other things, like friendship- you might have a locket with your friend's hair braided inside and a poem about being BFFs engraved upon it, like one of the Best Friends broken locket necklaces I used to buy from the Oriental Trading catalogue.

There were hair chains, watch fobs, earrings and pins. Hair was even braided into elaborate framed pieces. I can only imagine how difficult it was to craft these items- and can't help thinking about how strange and almost talisman-like they seem today. My mother, who used to wear a Victorian hair ring all the time, said she'd buy me some hair jewelery for my graduation present. I would love to have something this amazing, but this one was a bit expensive- it was listed at about $250 on eBay. But then again, that's not that much more than some pair of designer jeans, or something made by Juicy Couture, so if anything, it's a steal.


Perfect Ratio said...

I just threw up in my pants.

M said...

You must think you're pretty great if you think you're too good to wear the hair of a dead person.

Anonymous said...

There is a book titled "The Transformation" about an artist in hair. Hair jewlery plays a large part in the book. Check it out if you're interested.