Firmly interwoven

Sentimental bracelet made of braided hair, around 1870

Gifts from hair were an integral part of the culture of friendship and love in the 18th and 19th centuries. The family, one's own home and friends played a major role in the life of the time, the age of romanticism was characterized by special sensitivity. In this context, pieces of jewellery made of hair were created, which were intended as particularly personal gifts to express an intimate bond. Stendhal, the great French novelist of the early 19th century, records in his correspondence with Balzac that men also wore such jewelry made of hair. In 1810, at the height of Napoleon's reign, when the intimidated Austrians had to negotiate an alliance with France in St. Cloud, he was able to observe the Austrian negotiator Prince von Metternich wearing a bracelet made of hair from Caroline Murat, Napoleon's sister. This was a subtle way of expressing his desire for an alliance between the two countries, which a little later sealed Napoleon's marriage to Marie-Louise of Habsburg, the eldest daughter of the Austrian Emperor Francis I. As an irony of history, the disappointed Caroline Murat allied herself with Austria against her brother a little later - the ribbon of hair on Metternich's arm thus connected the two far more and for longer than they probably first suspected. Cf. Stendhal: Die Kartause von Parma, Munich 2007, commentary, p. 802. The bracelet here is a wonderful example of how long this tradition remained alive. The brown hair is made of three rows of oval interwoven elements, thus illustrating the indissolubility and infinity of love. Mounts with gold plating hold the three braids together; a chain that was later renewed makes it possible to wear the bracelet in different lengths. The bracelet was probably made around 1870. Similar examples can be found, for example, in contemporary pattern works such as "The jewellers' book of patterns in hair work", by William Halford & Charles Young, London 1864, or the 1870 catalogue of the firm A. Bernhard & Co, Manufacturers of Diamond Work & Ornamental Hair Jewelry, Importers of German Jewelry, New York.

Gifts from one's own hair were commonplace in the 18th and 19th centuries, a tradition which reached its peak as a gift of friendship or love in the Biedermeier era. The family, one's own home and friends played a major role in the life of the time - the age of Romanticism was characterized by particular sensitivity. In this context, pieces of jewellery made of hair were also created, which as particularly personal gifts (because hair is, after all, a part of one's own body!) were intended to express an intimate bond. In popular belief, hair is the seat of life force. Whoever possesses a hair from another has power over him. Therefore, whoever gives his hair to another, hands himself over to him, so to speak, and gives him a part of his own body: "A hair ties stronger than the strongest iron cord" is reported in old fairy tales, as one can read in the "Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens" (Dictionary of German Superstition). The simplest form of hair ornament that has survived to this day is the curl in a locket or the braided hair chain that the loving wife gave as a gift to the young husband.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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