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Victorian Hair Bracelet with Portrait

Victorian hair bracelet with tin-type portrait.

Exceptional Hair Bracelet

The Victorians were a truly sentimental people.   They often fashioned the hair of a distant or departed loved one into an intimate jewel .   The above bracelet is a wonderful example of what we now call "hair jewelry".   Popular during the early and middle Victorian periods, hair jewelry was used for both sentimental purposes, as well as in mourning.   Sentimental jewelry was given by family members, friends and lovers so that they would remember each other when they were apart.   Similarly, mourning jewelry was worn to memorialize a deceased loved one.

The clasp of this Victorian hair bracelet features gold fittings and hides a hinged compartment.   Within the hinged compartment is an old tin type portrait of a young man, perhaps the husband or "beau" of this charming bracelet's original owner.

Cost:   $765

Measurements:   This lovely bracelet is 0.75" wide and 6.25" in length.

Close-up of the clasp.

A close up of the clasp shows the hand-engraved details and the initials of the original owner, "ELK".   Note the quality of the hinge connecting the clasp and the end fitting.   The hinge allows the wearer to fasten and unfasten the bracelet without putting undue strain on the delicate hair work.

When you open the lid on the clasp a wonderful tin type of a young man is revealed - perhaps the husband or admirer of the young woman who wore the bracelet.   The tin type is protected by a glass cover and the frame surrounding the portrait is wonderfully hand-engraved. The Victorian jeweler's attention to detail is remarkable.

Close-up of the clasp with the locket open.

What makes this bracelet truly exceptional is the artistry of the multiple patterns created in woven hair.   Each strand of hair is carefully braided to add to an intricate geometric design and texture.   The art of creating jewels and objets d'art from woven hair was often passed from mother to daughter and is now all but lost.   Imagine the patience, skill and time required to create these charming miniature masterpieces.

Also unique to this bracelet is the use of two different colors of hair.   Most hair jewelry features one color of hair - usually either brown or black.   Blond hair and pieces combining two colors of hair are much rarer.   Perhaps the intertwined strands of blond and brown hair in our bracelet represent the commitment of a man and woman deeply bound by love.

Close-up of woven hair.

Consumer Tip:   When purchasing hair jewelry, always carefully examine the piece for unravelling ends, broken weaves or otherwise damaged areas.   Hair jewelry can be quite fragile and often the hair jewelry you see has suffered from normal wear.

The bracelet featured here is in mint condition....perhaps it was never or only rarely worn.   Jewels in this condition are often described as being of "museum quality."   We will leave that determination up to the buyer, although we believe this lovely bracelet would be an extraordinary addition to any collection of Victorian jewelry.

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Bijoux Extraordinaire,  Ltd.
"The Jewelry Experts"R
P.O. Box 1424
Manchester,  New Hampshire

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