Contrary to popular belief, hair jewelry was not always mourning jewelry. Sometimes these intricately woven pieces were created as love tokens from sweethearts, family members and cherished friends as a way to feel closer to the other. It also was worn merely as fashion since hair jewelry was in vogue during the Victorian era.
Gaining in popularity during the Civil War, hair work was an affordable and common at-home drawing room past time, much like knitting. Patterns and templates were widely available in newspapers, fashion magazines and periodicals. Many young women earned a living making hair jewelry at home.
For those less skilled or crafty, ready-to-wear hair work jewelry could be purchased through catalogs or from jewelry stores, or you could send hair off to a professional weaver to have a custom piece created.
We believe this superbly crafted earrings to be fashion pieces. They were most likely purchased from a hair jewelry catalog and we have included a page from the "A. Bernhard & Co. Catalogue, 1870 Manufacturers of Diamond Work & Ornamental Hair Jewelry" catalog with a similar example.
The acorn is a symbol of strength, potential, fertility and immortality and was often used as a complimenting secondary symbol of mourning.
These charming earrings were woven using a mold into the shape of little acorns. They have rolled gold plated caps and center ring and attach with kidney wires.
Date: 1870s Materials: Human hair, rolled gold plated metal Measurements: 1 1/2" x 1/2" Markings: None Condition: Very Good Metal has patina consistent with age and use. Some of the gold plating is starting to come off.