DSCN39511. Victorian Hairwork jewellery gained popularity in the early 19th-century. Queen Victorian had popularized sentimental jewellery.

2. Hairwork became a pastime for women that was as popular as crocheting.

3. Preparation of the hair was rigorous. It was boiled in soda water for 15 minutes and then divided into lengths and then bundles of 20-30 individual hairs. Bundles were weighted to create tension and make tight weaves.

4. Once the woven cords were completed, they were sent to jewellers to be fitted with clasps. The clasps were often elaborately made to accommodate a photograph or a coloured stone.

5. Hairwork jewellery became so popular that companies such as Linherr and Co. of New York began making it. Prices were listed in Godey’s Lady’s Book.

6. Watch chains were the most popular. A young Victorian lady would know that her love would think of her often as he looked at his watch and admired the beautifully woven chain from which it hangs.

7. The popularity of hairwork jewellery was reflected in the prices of a fob chain. In 1855 a fob chain cost $4-$8 and in 1859 increased to $6-$12.

8. Beginner hairwork enthusiasts would use horsehair as it was thicker and therefore easier to work with.

9. Horsehair was also used often because human hair was an expense commodity of the Victorian era. It was used in a variety applications including ringlets, beards, moustaches and of course, jewellery. According to one resource – the value of hair could be triple that of silver.

10. A wonderful illustration of this last craft is being offered at our sale September 13th.