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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.
This heavily detailed bracelet is a sentimental, possibly friendship, piece. It was most likely purchased from a hair jewelry catalog based on similar examples we have seen in other catalogs.
The band is made of woven hair that is secured into two engraved rolled gold plated end caps. At the center of the bracelet is a stunning locket engraved with fluid floral details and a mini banner with the initials S. R. J. inside.
The backside of the locket reveals a little more about it original owner with the name S. R. Jackson, Cleveland, O. engraved in lovely script.
The real beauty, however, is hiding inside the locket. Gorgeous blonde and brown plaited hair is mounted under glass on one side while dark brown plaited hair is mounted under glass on the other -- a symbol of friends or loved ones bound together for all time.
Bracelet latches with a sturdy tongue and groove clasp.
Materials: Human hair, rolled gold plated metal, glass
Measurements: 6 3/4" x 1 1/4"
Condition: Very Good
Metal has light surface scratches and patina consistent with age and use. The plating is starting to come off in a few places. The plaited brown hair inside the locket looks like it has some sort of dirt under the glass. There are a couple of small spots along the edge of the bracelet where the hair is starting to break. Still structurally sound and wearable.
Cleaning and Care
Using extreme care and a light touch, polish metal with a soft jeweler's cloth, if necessary. Do not submerge in water.