Arts and Culture

Unsettling love: Mourning and human hair at Four Mile Historic Park

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Apparently in the Victorian Era hair-weaving was the considered the height of romantic demonstration. In times of mourning, women would weave locks of hair from the heads of the departed into chains, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings; they would make hair the centerpiece of their flower arrangements and their portraits and their commemorative brooches.

Disease abounded, and since Victorian medical relief was basically 100 percent reliant on such wholesome treatments as bloodletting and the prescribed consumption of sulfur, the custom was repeated often and mastered quickly. The resulting jewelry is impressively intricate, probably almost as labor-intensive as any cut of precious stone and certainly charged with as much sentimental meaning. Save yourself the hundreds you could have spent on diamonds -- make a ring out of your hair instead. In the creepiest way imaginable, it's beautiful.

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Cordelia Finley
Contact: Cordelia Finley