The scene of the brooch is made from human hair. It shows a graveyard scene with a weeping willow tree overhanging a gravestone inscribed: ‘IN MEMORY OF A.G.’ Jewellery such as this is called memento mori, a reminder of death. This is because the hair is probably from a departed loved one.
Such ‘hairwork’ was a popular craft and pastime in 18th and 19th century Europe. Women in Victorian Britain were permitted to wear hairwork jewellery in the ‘second stage’ of mourning. This began a year and a day after the loved one’s death.
maker: Unknown maker
Place made: Europe