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Brooch decorated with human hair, Europe, 1701-1900

  • Science Museum, London
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Credit: Brooch decorated with human hair, Europe, 1701-1900. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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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


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