When Hair Is Enough, Elegant American Hairwork Brooch, 1850

October 29, 2010


Testing for 14K yellow gold and at the elegant size of 2” x 1”. This brooch comes from the Philadelphia area; Walnut street is still in existence, but 266 does not exist now.

As a piece constructed in 1850, this shows modesty and elegance in an oval shape reminiscent of the 1820s. For a time when brooches were becoming bigger and surroundings more elaborate, this keeps the oval shape and charm of its materials (hair/gold). As seen last week, the 1850s showed a period of design in jewellery that was in flux, coming to grips with the evolving fashion and adoption of new styles. There seems to be a level of fluidity to the period of 1820-1850, obviously with huge social changes reflecting back upon fashion of the time. Through two monarchs, increased social mobility, Empire building and increased transit, communication and lifestyle was advancing faster than ever before.

In this brooch, the gold finely encapsulates the dual-weave hairwork, creating a luscious balance of colour and entwined sentiment. The detail of the inscription is very fine as well, pushing this into the realm of fine jewellery and a powerful personal statement.

Courtesy: Sarah Nehama
Dedication: “My Sister and My Darling April 21 & 22 nd 1850 266 Walnut Street.”

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