“Hello loser! We have been reading about your behavioral problems in this report. The report clearly states that you’re a habitual masterubator! Your contempt for female authority has been brought to our attention. So, remove all of your clothing! Turn around and place your hands behind your back! Mistress Jenny, and I are going to handcuff you now. See this phallic shape device? This is our locking jewelry. Effective immediately! We have taken possession of your cock, balls, and sperm! You will never touch your pathetic penis again!”
Welcome to another exciting episode of FRIDAY FASHION FACT! Today we’re going to be talking about a fairly obscure piece of fashion history- hair jewelry. That’s right, in times gone by, people would wear human hair around their wrists, hanging from their ears, and wrapped around their fingers. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? It was a very common practice, though, and many of the pieces created were extremely elaborate and quite beautiful.
It is a common belief that hair jewelry was created for
mourning. This is not completely inaccurate, but it is far from the whole truth. Hair held strong
significance and symbolism in many cultures across the world. Since hair
takes centuries upon centuries to decompose, it was a common symbol of
the eternal. This is where the tradition of giving a lock of hair to a
loved one stems from. Since hair comes from the head, it also held myth
that the one who held the hair had a sort of influence over the giver.
Though it has become a romance genre trope to see lovers give each other
a lock of hair, in reality, locks were also given to friends, family
members- anyone with a deep, personal connection.
folklore commonly spoke of the power of hair, and thus people in that
region would carry the locks of their loved ones around with them. In
the Early Renaissance Age, the curls of hair would be placed into
lockets, often worn on necklaces or pinned over the heart. Shortly
after, instead of putting the hair inside of jewelery, it became part of
the jewelry itself. Sometimes the hair would be twisted and knotted,
then set into a pendant, or it would be woven like a rope, becoming the
band. These pieces that were woven into bands required much longer locks
of hair, and so they were more commonly made once a love one passed
away, and were worn as mourning jewelry.
While hair jewelery was not uncommon from the Renaissance through the 18th
Century, the style exploded in the Victorian Age. There are a few
reasons for this. At the beginning of the 19th Century, elaborate hair
styles, including men’s wigs, had fallen out of style, as did
ostentatious jewelry. To save their livelihoods, wig-makers and
jewelry-makers paired up to create sentimental pieces. This was the
start of hair jewelry’s rise in popularity. Later in the century, Prince
Albert famously gave Queen Victoria a charm bracelet, with each heart
charm containing a lock of each of their childrens’ hair. When Albert
died at a young age, the entire country went into mourning, bringing
mourning fashion into style. It was at this point that hair jewelry worn
as a mourning piece became extremely popular.
The style faded
out around World War I, when all mourning fashion faded from
popularity. Today, most people see hair jewelry as “creepy,” but it’s
important to remember the amount of emotion that was once attached to
these cherished pieces.
Want to learn more about hair jewelry? Check out these books:
Sentimental Jewellery, by Anne Louise Luthi
Collector’s Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewelry, by C. Jeanenne Bell
a question about fashion history that you want answered in the next
FRIDAY FASHION FACT? Just click the ASK button at the top of the page!
“A collection of five precious objects designed as jewellery boxes.The box becomes the jewels. Each box tells its own story.
The ultimate grown-up toy for women. Flamboyant rainbow steps lead to a
little dolls house that you can open. All its elements can be pulled
apart and worn; the mirror ball hanging from the ceiling, the
chinoiserie plique-à-jour screen, the shoes, the Chiavari chair…the
phone becomes the ‘Ring’ ring. This private space for women is designed
like a silk boudoir.“
this is the last thing I’m going to say about the grave robbing #human bones thing but like, I think the thing that gets me the most is how odd tumblr thinks this is. Like, I genuinely forget that most people don’t live in a place where there are for real human remains coming out of the ground all the time. We have a lot of cemeteries here. It’s a very, very old city. When New York still had mud streets, New Orleans had two opera houses. We have cemeteries from the 1600′s. They’re everywhere. In the middle of neighborhoods. Down the street from me is a really popular coffee shop IN a cemetery. Like people go starbucks style with their laptops to graves.
There’s just…a lot of death here? I don’t just mean the crazy murder rate, but lots of skull/skeleton motifs. There are skulls and bones in all the voodoo museums and hoodoo shops. There’s all sorts of mourning jewelry and locks of hair and human teeth in our antique shops. There are still the dead marker Katrina Crosses on tons of buildings. Almost everyone I know that was here through the storm has handled a body. “Vulture Culture” isn’t a new thing here or some trendy art movement it’s part of the fabric of the city.
So people taking bones from the Poor Man’s graves isn’t some weird shocking thing. It legit happens all the time. Usually it doesn’t blow up online, but it is a persistent problem here.
I dunno. I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone saying this is so surreal or odd or wild or whatever makes me really uncomfortable bc it’s not some one off problem for you to gawk at and make a joke out of. The desecration of graves and theft of ancestors’ bones is a constant thing real people have to deal with.