This stunning necklace features an openwork hair chain and cross pendant with 9k gold clasp and gold filled details. The style and construction date it between the 1840s-1870s.
Jewelry made of human hair was popular during the Victorian era. It was worn for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it was merely sentimental, other times it was in mourning, and still others wore it simply because it was fashionable!
It is sometimes difficult or even impossible to determine the original intent or purpose of a piece of Victorian hairwork jewelry, but clues are often found in the motifs and in inscriptions. This piece does not have a place for an inscription, but the cross motif leads me to believe it was worn in mourning. Other motifs such as snakes, buckles, and flowers, could be worn decoratively (Queen Victoria was famous for her love of snake jewelry), or symbolically.
If you would like to learn more about Victorian hairwork jewelry, I highly recommend the book "Collector's Encyclopedia of Hairwork Jewelry - Identification & Values" by C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G.
I have included a photo of a catalog page depicting a similar style of hairwork cross necklace. The catalog page is a reproduction from an 1870 A. Bernhard & Co. catalog found in the book mentioned above.
+++ Measurements +++
The length of the chain is 17" and the length of the cross is 2".
+++ Condition +++
It is unbelievably well preserved, especially considering its age! There are a couple of spots of very minor wear adjacent to the findings, as shown in the photos, only visible upon close inspection.
+++ Please read +++
This item is not new, and as such, it has wear commensurate with age. As with all older vintage and antique items, please handle with care.
All items are sold as-is, and I do my best to point out all condition issues and provide a detailed description and photographs.
Unless specified, items have not been cleaned.
I do not accept returns or offer refunds. Please see all photos, read the entire description, and ask any questions before purchasing.