Jewelry of Sentiment pt. 1: The Art of Hair Work


United States, Necklace, hair, gold, 1850-1880. Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann III, 2005.88

For centuries, locks of human hair were cherished tokens exchanged between friends and loved ones. In this episode, we investigate the art of hair work and the fashion for wearing jewelry made from human hair.

Additional Reading

  • Campbell, Mark. The Art of Hairwork: Hairbraiding and Jewelry of Sentiment. Edited by Jules Kliot and Kaethe Kliot. Berkeley: LACIS Publications, 1989.
  • Gitter, Elisabeth G. “The Power of Women’s Hair in the Victorian Imagination.” PMLA 99, no. 5 (October 1984): 936-954. *Lutz, Deborah. Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
  • (same author) “The Dead Still Among US: Victorian Secular Relics, Hair Jewelry, and Death Culture.” Victorian Literature and Culture 39, no. 1 (2011): 127-142. *Rahm, Virginia L. “Human Hair Ornaments.” Minnesota History 44, no. 2 (Summer 1974): 70-74.
  • Rosenthal, Angela. “Raising Hair.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 38, no. 1 (Fall 2004): 1-16. *Sheumaker, Helen. Love Entwined: the Curious Art of Hairwork in America. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2007.
  • Speight, Alexanna. The Lock of Hair: It’s History, Ancient and Modern, Natural and Artistic; with the Art of Working in Hair. London: 20 Spencer Street, Goswell Road, 1871.