Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jewelry Made with Real Hair - Past and Present

Hair today, jewelry tomorrow
Part 2 of 2
Jewelry made with hair is not new. The practice dates back centuries where woven hair bracelets were exchanged between men and women as tokens of affection. Occasionally they were also made in remembrance of a deceased loved one. The Victorians were particularly fond of this memento style of jewelry. Queen Victoria, a jewelry hound, made quite a number as gifts.

According to the Victorian Hair Artists Guild, there are four techniques. Palette work as shown in the antique brooch above (picture source) consists of glueing pieces of hairs into shapes and flowers and kept under glass. Hair flower work consisted of making 3-D flowers out of hair and then forming large wreaths - some family ones grew large. Those of you who do kumihimo (see my past post) will appreciate table work where hair cord is woven using a special table with a hole in the center.  Sepia work is also amazing as this method used tiny chopped up hair as embellishments to line drawings or the art was exclusively sketched in hair.

There aren't many, but there are amazing artisans today who still do the traditional style of hair jewelry.

Sandra Johnson of DNA Jewelry.com does intricate palette and sepia work pendants. She offers a service where you can get a pendant made from your hair or the hair of a loved one. She points out you can save DNA specimens through hair this way.

She is not quite right that DNA lasts "virtually forever"  - DNA does deteriorate which is why we can't clone dinosaurs from fossil remains. But it will last a good long time especially if kept properly. Her work is astounding - on the left is a sepia work design called Bob's Castle made with baby and adult hair in natural colors.

Melanie Bilenker is another artisan I have featured before who does intricate hair drawings. Yes, she sketches with hair! This resin brooch shows her great skill at manipulating fine hairs. Her hair drawings are delicate and often depict everyday scenes.

Modern takes on hair jewelry includes this fringe necklace made from human hair by Etsian Kathy Coleman.

Bijulesnyc.com's Hairem collection has all sorts of long hair earrings or hairrings and a similar fringe style necklace called Hairy Chest! Check out my past post to see more of these.

Bence Fordos is a Hungarian designer whose Etsy shop Be Unique does indeed show truly different jewelry. He posted on Flickr one of his wedding ring designs where your love's hair is placed inside it under a sapphire crystal.

References
Victorian Hair Artists
History of Hair Work

Via

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

3 comments :

BetteJo said...

Wow - so many different ways to use hair - and there is actually a Victorian Hair Artists Guild?? Where have I been hiding that I haven't heard of them?

Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry said...

This can be a pretty nice idea especially if you want to save your child's hair from their first haircut.
-Stephanie

Azure Islands Designs said...

What interesting ideas...they must have a great deal of patience to work with hair!

Cheers

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