Hair

HH for Hair in the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

I had no idea that hair jewellery was ever popular, did you? Not as in jewellery to decorate your hair, like tiaras or hair combs, but jewellery made of human hair.

Not something that is appealing to me. Hair somehow feels like a part of my body. So strange to wear jewellery made by something that once belonged to another person’s body.

It is a material that lasts very long. Having said that, I see in front of me a skeleton with still some hair on it. Sorry, I am moving from Hair to Horror here, but again, I do think there is something very odd about recycling human hair for jewellery.

It was in the online collection Smycken by Nordiska Museet that I first saw jewellery made of hair. It is not my personal taste, but I  have to admit that the people who created this jewellery were very skilled. And yes, it’s kind of special that we still have a few curls of the hair of a former Swedish king, Gustav III, from 1792. His real hair would have been carefully hidden under a fashionable white powdered wig, at least in public.

The background to jewellery made of hair, popular in the 19th century, seems to relate to the simple fact that when wigs went out of fashion after the 18th century, wig makers had to look for new ways to earn money on their skills. Hair as profession.

A few years ago, my parents gave to me a white envelope they had found, in which there is some hair from me when I was three or four years old. The envelope is ceiled and until today, I didn’t open it. Why?

There is something about hair.

My daughter’s hair had grown too long and as we never got around to go to the hairdresser, one day she asked me to cut it for her. So many Youtube tutorials available and I felt ready for the task. Still, as I was cutting almost 15 cm away and saw hair piling up on the ground, I did feel something. It was like powerful, but the reverse, like a power-drain. As if I was cutting something away from her, and I felt a great responsibility. Not for what I left behind, but for what I took away.

There is something about hair.

My daughter’s best friend once cut her long thick hair in a much shorter cut, to give hair away so that it could be used to make wigs for children who need it. Isn’t that an amazing thing to do?

There is something about hair.

From being disgusted by old jewellery made of hair, to observing how my mind goes wandering around hair, to doing some google search and discover how human hair is used by artists today (see what you find on “art human hair“) I feel that hair is becoming less personal to me. My view has changed a tiny, tiny bit.

That’s how it goes online.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the hair archeologist, Janet Stephens, who recreates ancient hairstyles, such as this one of a Vestal Virgin of Ancient Rome (video tutorial here).

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Hair

  1. Fascinating subject, beautifully written. I love the way you insist on that “something about hair,” find it unaccountably repellent as jewelry, but also find your mind changing a little over the course of your exploration. By the way, when I had my wisdom teeth out as a teenager, the doctors gave them to me (fine specimens, I remember them saying), and my friend Eve glued them to a strip of leather and made a choker for me. Not everybody’s cup of tea!

    • What an interesting story about the choker! Because of their name, wisdom teeth have a certain “weight”. I can imagine it to become a personal amulet, of some sort. But would it not be different if it was someone else’s tooth, and not your own?
      Actually, this is inspiring. I didn’t start writing T yet, would you mind if I pick up on this tooth theme? Depending on what I find, so nothing fixed yet.

  2. There is indeed something about hair, beautiful, yet as you say sometimes unnerving- especially when no longer on the head. That really quite beautiful jewellery can be made is quite astounding too. Great piece, well done!

  3. Fascinating G …you’ve made me think about the fact I still have to take a surreptitious peep at the cut locks when I have my hair trimmed .. not sure why Lol…

    • And you made me look up “surreptitious”, what a fantastic word, my English vocabulary keeps growing! I’d love to use it at work, beyond the surreptitiously checking if there are any cookies left.
      As for the hairdressers, make sure they treat your hair with respect! 😉

  4. Very interesting!! I have never heard about jewelry from hair. Fascinating blog.
    I did go on a historical tour a few years back. A turn of the century house. Upstairs, on the dresser, was a container that the docent said they used for holding hair, and they’d use the hair as stuffing for dolls.

    • Wow, that’s another way to use it. Well, at least you don’t see it then. In a way it makes sense to use it for something, instead of throwing it away (once you get used to the idea).

  5. Pingback: Teeth and bones | galeriaredelius

    • Thank you Martina, I am so much falling in love with her jewellery, also for the tender, everyday scenes. Have never seen jewellery like this, I find myself deeply touched… Again, thanks!

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