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Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre​

33 Victoria Street North (in the town of Saugeen Shores)
Southampton, ON Canada N0H 2L0
Toll Free: 1-866-318-8889 | Phone: 519-797-2080 | Fax 519-797-2191

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Hair Art and Jewellery

Home | Artefacts | Hair Art and Jewellery

The Victorian Age was one of sentimentality; due to the historical symbolism and associations of hair to intimacy, devotion, love, and esteem, hair was chosen by Victorians as something to keep as a reminder of a loved one, living or dead.

During the later part of the Victorian Age, jewellery and art created from hair were extremely popular; in this way people showed their feelings symbolically and publicly.  Ladies journals and magazines carried patterns and instructions for creating hair art and jewellery.  Ladies collected their hair in special receivers as part of their toilette; hair was also used to make pompadours or hair rats, which were key in creating popular hairstyles. 

Hair wreaths were part of this sentimental art trend.  Often memorial wreaths were created when someone passed; some locks may have been taken from the deceased, but most would have come from their hair receiver.  Other hair wreaths have multiple contributors giving the work several shades and adding dimension.  Contributors to a wreath were often family members, or good friends, symbolically showing their friendship and love for one another and their lives intertwined. 

F inely done, this bracelet is made up of eight braided pieces of hair between cotton cord.  The cord and braids are stitched to a cotton backing.  Hair jewellery was often created and traded among good friends, in the way modern friendship bracelets are today.  The creator of this bracelet is unknown; it was a gift to Jane Matthews, who later passed it on to the donor.

Discover other hair art and jewellery in the online collection, including a Watch Fob and Hairwork Wreaths

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Bruce Remembers is a project of Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre. The project’s goal is to commemorate the men and women who served