Spotlight On: Regard Necklace

October 3, 2011

Necklaces of course weren’t relegated to hair, and the pieces that weren’t display a union between the chain itself and the pendant it is attached to.

This ‘regard’ necklace and pendant from Barbara Robbins is an exquisite example of its form. From the hairwork under glass to the organic design of the gold work. Though clearly of its time, the organic design is shows an almost nouveau prototype in its nature patterns, right down to the gold hearts with flower designs that contain the stones. Much of this has to do with the transient art styles of the mid 19th century. The Neo-Rococo Romantic period is in full bloom with this piece, from the floral decorations of the gold to the basic sentiment of the stones.

The chain and heart design are a perfect union in this piece, delicate and never over balanced in their weight. It should also be noted that on the back of each heart where the stones sit are glass panels with hair inside. There is more than one type of hair on display in this piece, with the table-worked feathered hair on milk glass showing at least two colours and then the magnificent hair behind each of the regard mementoes.

Further Reading

> The Late 19th Century and Buckle Rings

> An 1876 Hair Ring

> A Late 19th Century Hairwork Ring

> 1888 Sentimental Hair Band in Original Heart-Shaped Box

> An Early Hair Ring: 1860 ‘My David’

> 3 Members of a Family Mourning Ring with Diamond and Blue Enamel

4 Responses to “Spotlight On: Regard Necklace”


  1. Beautiful piece,so different.Love it! Wonder who all the hair belonged to?? Very interesting.Tks for sharing


    • A pleasure, Glenda! Like many of these pieces, the original owners are lost to time – I recall once a lady was selling her pieces of family history right back to the 18th century. Rings, portraits, the works. Turns out that her children didn’t want any of it, so rather than have her break it up, I bought it all with notes about the provenance. If I can retain the historical knowledge of each piece, that’s worth more to me than all the diamonds in the world.

  2. Tracy Says:

    But what did the hair actually mean to the wearer and those who saw the jewellery being worn?

    A love token to the wearer, possibly mourning in some instances, does it indicate to the viewer that the wearers heart is taken?

    Then when did hair in jewellery fall out of favor and why?

    Fascinating trying to understand how these objects were used and understood in their times.


    • Hi Tracy,

      Those are some very big questions to answer and I can guarantee that all the answers are buried in this site and the main one. I’ll try to rattle off some quick answers for you, though.

      Hair’s relation to the wearer is their prerogative, but it was not only a socially acceptable thing to do during different periods in time, but it was also highly fashionable in the 19th century. You can find out a lot more about it here: https://artofmourning.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/an-overview-of-the-history-and-industry-of-hairwork-part-1/

      The wearing and presentation of hairwork differs, depending on the time or culture of the piece. Generally, wearing hair was not arbitrary and you can find many pieces made from the hair of loved ones from friends and family.

      The article above will tell you all about the industry and how it fell out of favour, but the late 19th century was a period of changing perceptions in gender roles, social mobility and changing cultural dominance. Take a peek near the end of the article to note its decline.

      Have a read and let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to clarify!

      Regards,
      Hayden


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