Hair Art is jewelry and artwork created using hair as the artistic medium. It was created most commonly from the middle ages through the 1800's. It was believed that hair jewelry increased one's love if the piece was made using the hair of the living, and was seen as a way of wearing one's love if the person was deceased.
During the Victorian times, Queen Victoria wore many pieces of hair jewelry and it became very popular due to her interest in this old art. During this time mourning jewelry reached it's peak of popularity and there was great sentiment attached to it. There are many fabulous pieces still in existence today created during that time.
At one time hair jewelry was created mainly for the upper class who could afford to have custom made gold jewelry with precious stones. It wasn't until the later 1800's that the average person was able to find instructions and they could create these pieces themselves.
At one time the average person could buy the settings for these pieces. They were sold in the Sears Catalog I've been told. The design was pre-drawn usually on an ivory background and the person making the pendant would add their hair to personalize the piece for themselves.
The women of Mora, Sweden, became experienced in hairwork and their creations made it possible for groups other than the very wealthy to afford hair jewelry. Since they did not have the money for expensive findings, their jewelry was mounted with wooden beads that they covered with hair. There are many examples of their work in existence today.
Godey's Lady's Book was a magazine published in that time and it printed patterns and offered starter kits with the necessary tools for sale. Mark Campbell was the author of a book titled "Self-Instructor in the Art of Hairwork" and it has instructions on hair art and other crafts from that time period. These instructions enabled the average person to learn and create these pieces on their own
This is a sample of a brooch made during those times. It is very delicate work and placed on ivory. There was a picture on the back.
Fancy Dresser Box
Women would have a hair receiver on their dresser and save the hair from their brush and comb and place it in the hair receiver.
When they had enough they would make something special.
This is a watch fob made from hair. Most likely and wife or girlfriend created this for a gentlemen. It had a picture inside the locket of the person whose hair was used in the creation.