The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Lockets

Often, upon losing a family member, 18th century mourners would send the dead to their graves only after giving them one last haircut. They would harvest their locks to create elaborate weavings. Sometimes, the hair would be fashioned into floral wreaths. Sometimes, it would be made into jewelry. Frequently, the hair was plaited and pressed into lockets, which were then worn close to the heart. Prince Alfred didn’t have enough hair on his small blonde head for a weaving, but a tress did make it into a locket — a single soft curl. It sits behind glass, in a gold and enamel frame that displays the dates of his birth and death. The other side of the locket, a delicate piece of jewelry shaped like an urn, is decorated with seed pearls and amethysts. It is now part of the Royal Collection Trust. “Due to his age, there was no official mourning period for Alfred,” notes scholar and collector Hayden Peters at The Art of Mourning. “But his death came at a time of the mourning industry being a necessary part of fashion and a self-sustaining one in its own right.” More here.

A stunning article. Perfect for these times.



Categories: Articles

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