American Hair Jewelry, ca. 1850

Value (2013) | $1,200$1,500

Well, this has been in my family forever. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother. And my understanding is that the outside of the bracelet was my great-great- grandfather's hair and inside was my great-great- grandmother's hair.

Woven-hair jewelry was sort of a cottage industry. When someone passed on, the hair would be woven into different forms of jewelry. There were catalogs available that you could buy that had the examples of what you could use like the earrings that we see there, and the brooch. But I'd like to focus on the bracelet first because it's really very interesting. First, we see your great-great- grandfather's hair. This is from about 1850. And when we open the locket, which is beautifully engraved, we see, inside, Great-Great-Grandma's hair. But there's also two colors of hair in there, which probably indicates that the blonder hair was when she was a little girl and the darker hair was when she got older.

That's interesting.

And I'd like to turn this around so that we can see how beautifully woven this is and what a difficult task this was to weave.


Because it's as old as it is, there is a very little bit of damage right up there, but most of the time, pieces are much more damaged than this one is.

Is that right?

It's so nice to see this in such wonderful condition. It is from Georgia, and most of this jewelry first came from England with our English forebears, and then was picked up as an industry in this country through the end of the 19th century. We have the earrings as well and a tiny little brooch. And the brooch is very, very sweet because it's a love knot, and in the center of the love knot are clutched hands, which is a token of love. And I would venture that the value of this, which is, of course, sentimental, but the monetary value of this is about $900.

Very good.

Appraisal Details

Joyce Jonas & Associates
New York, NY
Update (2013)
Appraised value (1999)
$900 None
Salt Lake City, UT (July 10, 1999)

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