Hair Pendant

An image of a gold framed pendant. Inside there is braided light brown hair. It is topped with glass. Under there is a netted white doily sitting on a wood table.
Hair Pendant from the Eldon House collection

Country of Origin: likely Canada
Year: ca. 1885
Materials: Metal, paper, glass, and hair 

Mortality rates were higher during the Victorian Era, and as such people were focused on death and mourning practices. Furthermore, extended periods of mourning and mourning fashion were popularized by Queen Victoria and her grief after the death of Prince Albert. Mourning became a large trend and people looked to commemorate their loved ones at gravesites and in their homes. One way to do this was to create jewelry using hair. The most popular items was to create rings or necklaces.

Necklaces could be quite intricate and involve braiding or curling hair into different shapes. This piece, which is made of the deceased hair, is braided into a glass pendant. This would have been worn by family members to commemorate their lives.