Pining for the West

Sentimental / Mourning Jewellery | June 3, 2009

Mourning jewellery

Mourning jewellery

I must admit that when I tell people that I collect hair jewellery, they often take a quick step away from me. For some reason it really seems to freak out a lot of folk. I really can’t think why it does, but there you go, it’s just as well we are all different.

I think that everyone should have at least one thing about them that the majority of people find just a bit weird. That’s what makes life interesting. Of course some of us have quite a lot of things that most people think are pretty crazy.

I love brooches, and I think that one of the first brooches which I bought many moons ago, was a huge Victorian hair brooch with pearls included in the intricate design. The pearls are meant to denote tears, so I guess that that one is probably the hair belonging to a dead loved one.

There are plenty of pieces of jewellery around which were obviously used as love tokens, and I don’t think that you can get much more romantic than that. Friends even exchanged locks of hair.

The hair jewellery business was very big in Victorian times. I suppose Queen Victoria’s deep and long mourning for Prince Albert helped to keep the fashion going, although hair jewellery was popular long before then.

People used to send the hair of their loved one off to be twisted and woven into a particular pattern, but it was rumoured that the jewellers actually used hair belonging to prostitutes to make the designs, and understandably people were put off by that. So they took to crafting their own designs and pattern books were published to take advantage of this craze.

I’ve always loved hair and when my boys were very small, I kept all of their baby hair whenever it needed to be trimmed. So, I have two tins full of baby hair because I just couldn’t stand the thought of throwing it away. Now, all I have to do is open the tins and immediately I’m whisked back to their babyhood. I don’t feel that urge often, but it is nice to have the option.

Of course, I also have some curls of hair from all four of us, tied together and tucked safely away in a locket.

There is also a rumour that I have their baby teeth in tins too, but even I think that that is a wee bit strange and I’m not admitting to it at all.



  1. Er not really all that strange…..When I was a little girl, I used to save my own baby teeth. I used to tell people I was saving them up to make a pair of false teeth for my Mum! Thrifty eh? Of course it never occured to me that they would be too small! I wonder what happened to those teeth….

    Comment by echostains — October 14, 2009 @ 12:00 am

    • Speaking of things that haven’t been seen for ages – I used to have The Ingoldsby Legends too. I didn’t read it though as the print was teeny weeny. Mine didn’t have any illustrations. I love Arthur Rackham, I have his Peter Pan prints on my stair walls.

      Kind regards,

      Comment by piningforthewest — October 15, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  2. Aw lovely Rackham! My childhood is haunted by his illustrations, and those like his, especially fairies and goblins. I read all the Andrew Lang fairytale books too (yellow fairytale book, red, green etc.)

    Comment by echostains — October 16, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

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