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May 16, 2011


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That looks so cool! I've never seen close-ups of this before, though I think I've seen a brooch in a museum at one point.

I think there's a documentary that they aired on/was produced by SVT (Swedish National TV) about some of the girls that made items like this and about their stories and how they were allowed to go to America to promote their art, as told by their grandchildren and families.

As always, a great post!

FIDM Museum

Thanks Tilde! Glad you enjoyed the post.

The documentary you mention sounds fascinating. Though some sources mentioned Sweden as the originator of hairwork jewelry, I wasn't able to verify this fact. It would be so interesting to see the documentary you mention.

Lisa Rickey

Wow - that is so interesting! And intricate! I recently found several locks of hair in a Bible at our library and found your blog post in the course of researching why people collected locks of hair. I have quoted a brief passage from this post and cited/linked it in my blog. I hope you won't mind. Your explanation was so simple and clear; it was really helpful.

FIDM Museum

Hi Lisa,

It's great to hear that our post helped you with your research! In researching this post, I also noticed a lack of sources on hairwork. This post was pieced together from both period and contemporary sources. You might be interested in the book "Love Entwined" by Helen Sheumaker. It was the only recent book I found on the subject. Best of luck in our archival endeavors!

Becky D

Fascinating. Odd, but fascinating! Not sure I would want to wear these items, but boy can I appreciate the artistry.

Richard Sobel

I would like to see the documentary you are mentioning. It's so interesting and I would like to know more about this creatively made hairwork jewelry. Those close-up pictures are really rare. I couldn't believe my eyes because of the awesome artistry. Best luck on your continuing journey, Liza!

Hadi N

I love to see the documentary you mention too. Additionally I am very interested in business website to have brooches made out of hair, I want to have a special souvenir from my daughter's hair. If you know of any? I remember seeing something like this on the advertisement of Parenting magazine long time ago but can't find it now

Aj The Fighting Gear Girl

If I didn't think these were so incredibly beautiful I may find them to be grotesque?! Either way I am in complete awe of the craftsmanship and sentimental valuing of these ornate pieces of history and beauty.

Nancy S.

great post! and a great reference book--i have several pieces of hair jewelry, most specifically 2 stick pins that looked like the upper right earring on page 163, that i have made into earrings that look almost identical to that sketch. i used more of the original wire from the pin part to make them dangle more, though. Also have my great-grandmother's wedding ring, (size 11!) that looks just like #181, page 187.
Never thought i'd see how to make it!


Thanks so much for this great post! I'm working on the subject of hairwork for my MA thesis in art history, and I was wondering if these examples of hairwork from the FIDM collection are currently on display? I'd love to study and write about them!

FIDM Museum

Hi Rachel,

We don't currently have any hairwork jewelry on display. You can, however, make a research appointment to come and view some pieces. The pieces featured in this post are only a very small portion of our collection of hairwork jewelry. If you'd like to make a research appointment, contact me via the envelope icon on the upper left portion of the page.

Hairwork is such an interesting topic, but there isn't much written about it. I'm sure your thesis will be a great contribution to the field.


Thank you for this beautiful post! It is really informative, and I especially appreciate the link to the 1867 hairwork book.

You mention that hair degrades slowly "if carefully stored." Do you have any advice on how to properly store a collection of hairwork jewelry? Are there any considerations that are specific to hairwork as opposed to other forms of jewelry or other artifacts?

Thank you for your help!

FIDM Museum

Hi Kristen,

Thanks for your comment. In general, store your hairwork away from direct sources of heat, away from direct light, and keep air pollutants (dust particles, etc.) to a minimum. Hair is susceptible to some insects, so you'll want to periodically inspect your hairwork to make sure it is free of pests. Try to keep humidity consistent, as spikes in moisture (and temperature) can cause damage.

Obviously, these are very general guidelines! There are some good online resources for storing costume and textiles, which often include info specific to storing natural fibers like wool, silk, and even hair. Try the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Smithsonian Institute. The US National Parks Service also has some good online resources.

Isabelle Robson

Yeah!nice post.All the information is very good.the golden color jewelry is looking so beautiful.Thanks a lot for sharing this.


Wow!very very nice post.It is really so much informative.I am very glad to see this.Thanks for the beautiful post.

Jewelers NJ

I love the anchor necklace and hairwick bracelet. Thanks for sharing the information and pictures!

Anara Askar

Hi there,

I love this post! :) I wanted to incorporate it into my senior thesis - a prototype magazine edition that will hopefully become real. I’ll give credits and everything I just think it would be interesting to readers! I want to use the images and text for a story on hair & memory and I was wondering what your policy was? I would love to show other people beautiful work and get people educated about random cool things so please let me know if you are interested and thank you for your time!



I am working samples in pearl cotton of each of the braids described in Mark Campbell's "Self Instructor" mentioned above, and so far I've only run across two or three out of the 111 with typos or instructions that I couldn't work out.

What a thrill to see good close-ups of hairwork contemporary to the book!

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