A special type of jewelry item used as a mourning accessory during this time was a brooch or other style of jewelry made from the hair of a deceased friend or loved one. These were hugely popular in Victorian times. These jewelry designs were very complex and also often incorporated other materials such as black jet, gold and diamonds.
Photo credit hairarchives.com
The brooch featured here was made in the form of the Prince of Wales Feathers. It was adorned with seed pearls and also used gold thread.This "hair jewelry" was used as a reminder to the mourners that death was inevitable, and that the wearer should lead a good life, lest they be struck down without warning.
Hair jewelry was not always used just to mourn the dead. It was also made as a love token from a lover or cherished friend. Many jewelry pieces of the times had hidden compartments for the hair of another.
This use of hair jewelry was fashionable during the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. It faded from popularity during the roaring 20s.
Since human hair does not decay with the passing of times, it is still possible to get examples of Victorian hair jewelry in good condition. It is a highly collectible form of vintage jewelry.