Lovely Mourning

10/16/2008

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Last Weekend Matt and I headed to his favorite small town getaway for some – those of you who know Matt, brace yourselves – afternoon antiquing.

Tucked away on a tiny cobblestone street was this awkward little shop that billed itself as the largest dealer of Victorian pet accessories, and my new favorite obsession, Victorian hair jewelry.

I am not talking about jewelry FOR hair. I am talking about jewelry MADE OF HUMAN HAIR.

The shopkeeper explained that for hundreds of years leading up to the twentieth century, many women wore bracelets, necklaces, and brooches fashioned with the hair of a deceased loved one as a sign of affection and remembrance. The trend became especially fashionable during Queen Victoria’s legendary reign and extended period of mourning following the death of her husband Albert. Apparently human hair does not decay with the passing of time as most other materials. It has chemical qualities that cause it to last for hundreds, yes, thousands, of years.

Hair jewelry functioned as a keepsake of the dead and as a reminder that death was an ever-present possibility; the wearer was constantly reminded that she should lead a good life because death could strike without warning. Hair jewelry was not always worn to commemorate the dead; lovers also wore pieces made from the couple’s hair. Hmm… Matt bangles?

For more adventures in post-mortem paraphernalia visit:
North Fork Pet Antiques / Tear Drop Memories
12 West Mechanic Street
New Hope, PA512-862-3401
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