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Object ID # 1963.018.002
Object Name Brooch
Title Mourning Brooch with Hairwork
Lexicon category 3: Personal Artifacts
Date c. 1880?
Artist Unknown
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Grey County, Ontario?
Description Mourning brooch with woven hairwork under glass. It appears to be made of gold and onyx. It is oval in shape, with smooth, glossy onyx decorated ornately around its perimeter with golden curlicues. In the center is an oval bezel which holds a piece of clear glass. This covers an insert of woven ash blond human hair. The reverse has a slightly convex backing plate. There is a door-hinged pin stem, which is caught in a thick, gold-coloured wire curl. The pinstem extends past the edge of the brooch (this is often seen in Victorian brooches).

Provenance Last owned by Grace Elliott, who suggested that it may be circa 1880, but did not provide any information about its original ownership, or whose hair is contained within it. Miss Elliott resided in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Collection Jewellery, 19th-c Collection
Material Glass/Gold/Hair, Human
Dimensions W-4.7 L-3.5 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Elliott, Grace
Subjects Hair
Jewelry
Mourning clothes
Search Terms Victorian
Function A Victorian brooch of this shape was usually pinned at the front collar area of a woman's bodice. When it was not being worn, it would likely be kept in a dresser / bureau area or in a container on the woman's dresser. The blond hair inside this Victorian brooch had sentimental value to the woman who was mourning the person who had the blond hair. Hair clippings were sometimes kept as a keepsake of a deceased person.