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I thought this was a great example of a human hair fob. The braiding is very fine, and condition is great. I am not sure if the end pieces, and the slide are original or not, I have my suspicions that they are not, but the delicate work with the hair is outstanding. Victorian era produced many things made of hair.
|IHC Life Member
Outstanding example Tom! I've heard stories that some of these were made from the hair of loved ones who had passed. Does anyone know the true origin?
Thanks. That was my understanding also, that the hair was that of a loved one. I believe that some mourning jewelery also incorporated hair of the loved one. I don't think that this fob was considered mourning jewelry, maybe someone knows more. I can't imagine the hours that went into making this. Quite impressive, I think.
Such a beautiful example of mourning hair watch chain. I have one in my watch chain collection but doesn't hold a candle to yours! I've not seen anything like yours until now.
In the early days, one could also purchase kits (Sears) to make a hair fob chain as well. Some used fobs charms indicative of their spouse's profession to add to the hair chain. Many women used their own hair and a special weaving technique to make the chains. Husbands would wear the watch chain during work hours so as to have a closeness to their wives during the day!.
Enclosed is a pic of my human hair chain. A little story to go with this. I got mine in a junk box about 25 years ago, and began using it occasionally to carry a watch. When done, I would just throw it into a junk box. About 10 years ago, I was in an antique store in southwestern New York State and saw one exactly like mine in the display case. It was marked "Rare human hair watch chain--$320". While I was in there, a well dressed woman came in, looked at the hair chain and said, "I want it". She dropped $320 in cash and proudly walked away with the human hair chain. I have no idea whether this was a fluke or it was really worth that much. Needless to say, I came home and put mine in a more secure place than the junk box, and I have treated mine much more gently since.
|IHC Member 163
I've never seen one for less than $150 in our rounds of antique stores, and that one was in bad shape to boot. Mourning jewelery, which these chains are categorized, have become EXTREMELY collectable, and not only to watch collectors. From my limited reading on the subject, though practiced throughout history, there was a HUGE jump in the creation of these items during the U.S.Civil war, as most soldiers killed in action rarely got sent back home for burial, for obvious reasons. Field morticians made a practice of cutting rather large locks of hair from the departed loved one, and mailed those locks back to the families as a momento, along with what ever personal items were left behind. Those locks were then used as jewelery. It was also popular in Victorian England, and Queen Vic wore mouring jewelery made from the hair of her beloved Prince Albert for the remainder of her life after his passing, and the popularity of these items were the norm during her reign.
There are a wide range of folks in different fields who snap these items up as fast as they can find them. Junk box, eh? Wow...talk about a lucky find! Good for you!!!! High regards. Mark
Hi Mark, Thanks for the info on Mourning Jewelry. Never knew anything about it before. It definitely makes sense. As for finding it in a junk box, always remember--"even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every once in a while".
|IHC Member 163
Well, I've heard that before, but have never been able to put it in practice yet. Maybe someday I'll have something to report... Regards. Mark
very interesting item a hair fob.I have never seen these before in antique stores or elsewhere, never seen them in antique books either, quite rare.
Nice examples guys.
Thanks for all the information on these.
Love your hair fob story!
Here's a pic of my hair fob jewelry. The weave is somewhat ordinary but what I like about it is the etched rose gold tips,(marked 1/10), center tip with paste stones, choo choo, and a spike hammer. Would love to know about the watch that was once attached to the hair chain along with what position owner held and for which railroad.
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