Mourning Jewelry
Original Author: Unknown; Alan Thompson, photographer
Created: Late nineteenth century
Medium: Hair jewelry
Publisher: The American Civil War Museum

Mourning Jewelry

This late-nineteenth-century necklace in the shape of a cross has been fashioned out of human hair, a memento of a dead relative. Following a custom begun by Queen Victoria after her husband died in 1859, mourning women often wore jewelry that incorporated locks of hair from dead ones, or were created out of strands of hair, as this pendant was. The market for hairwork jewelry increased in the wake of the Civil War, when women wanted remembrances of their lost husbands, sons, and other loved ones. This woven-hair necklace from a Southern family was donated to the Museum of the Confederacy, now the The American Civil War Museum.