History of hair jewellery

Hair ornaments, like jewelry in general, belongs to the ornamental objects. Nowadays we distinguish between the different notions of the expression "hair ornaments". Normally, the term hair jewelry is used to designate jewelry that serves us to decorate hairstyles or constructive in your form. On the other hand, in addition to this form of jewelry, hair jewelry also refers to jewelry made from our own hair.

Hair ornaments as hair decoration

Hair jewelry is not an invention of our modern times. The historical development of hair ornaments can be traced back to several thousands of years. Already flowers or simple wood are considered as the first approach of hair ornaments. About the already at that time, conscious use for the design of hairstyles, however, can be argued. In the course of the development of the first advanced civilizations, in addition to education, technology and medicine, jewelry was given a much higher status. In ancient Egypt, for example, braided threads or gold ornaments were worn in the hair. Even within the Chinese dynasty, the use of wooden rods was not uncommon to put up the particularly thick hair of Asian women. As a particularly impressive hair ornament, the feather ornaments of Native Americans. This was often used for decoration, but also to distinguish the hierarchical structures within a tribe. Also in the fashion world of modern times you can find a development of this feather jewelry - the so-called Fascinator. These extremely colorful and versatile individual pieces are attached to the hair with small hair clips and barrettes and charm the audience with your uniqueness.

To date, hair jewelry has evolved in a very diverse way. There are now no material restrictions - and so it is possible to obtain hair jewelry from a variety of materials such as woods, metals and precious metals, textiles, plastics, precious stones and cut glass, up to diamond. Also in the adaptation of the beautiful pieces of hair jewelry to the shape of the head, never lacked ingenuity. So there are nowadays from the practical hair clip, to the particularly safe hair clip, to the hair screw, a variety of fastening options that leave nothing to be desired in the design of the hairstyle. Hair ornaments can not be completely differentiated from the concept of headgear. For example, the crown is considered a variation of hair ornaments. In addition to the hierarchical meaning, the crown also has the meaning of a distinguishing ornament. Today's optical remnants of the crown can be found in the so-called diadems. These are attributed to the hair ornaments in the area of bridal jewelry and originate from the laurel wreath - a wreath by means of which in ancient times, the winner of a battle was crowned.

Hair jewelry as a piece of jewelry made of hair

The first impression of a person is decisive for further contact. So it is not surprising that the human head hair plays an important role in our appearance until today. The will to bind such beautiful appearances into memories is a human tendency, so intense that even head hair meets the requirement of memory. Even before the 18th century, head hair was used in personal ornaments to create an artistic souvenir. Head hair has always played a major role in mythical legends. One of the stories best known to us is that of Samson, a member of the militaristic sect of Nazarites, whose belief that long hair is the source of strength is fascinating. The overly romantic reference to our hair is also reflected in a Swedish collection of sayings:

"Rings and hair hoops increase love."
(Vadstena stads tankebok)

In Denmark, in Rosenborg Palace there is an extremely valuable hairband made of precious metal with a simple lock of intertwined hair. It is a very elaborate and loving gift from King Christian the Fourth (1577-1648) to his wife. Even the condemned King Charles, the First of England, left memorial rings to his most loyal retinue as a token of remembrance and appreciation. The fashionable appearance of jewelry made of one's own hair at that time, was spurred on by the devastating financial situation of hair artists and wigmakers of that time. While in the 17th and 18th centuries wigs went out of fashion among noble men, their field of activity shifted to fashionable accessories made of head hair. At the beginning of this development, precious metals such as gold and silver, but also pearls and precious stones were mostly used for the production of jewelry. The extremely high value of the goods reduced the clientele to a small but very wealthy clientele. Among the owners best known to us were Napoleon and Admiral Nelson, as well as Queen Victoria, including her large entourage, Christina Nilsson and Jenny Lind.

In the 19th century, a wide variety of works of art were created in Europe, such as earrings, bracelets, finger rings, brooches, necklaces and hair pictures. For example, a very common piece of jewelry was the so-called "memory brooch". A "memory brooch" is preferably made of precious metals and contains a strand of hair of a deceased person protected behind glass. This strand of hair also finds the name "Prince of Wales curl". This trend lasted into the 20th century, but was replaced in 1925 in the wake of fashion innovations, such as the short skirt and the bob. There are a variety of reasons why hair accessories have enjoyed incredible popularity over the centuries. Human hair, unlike the rest of the components of our body, lasts a comparatively long time. Its chemical composition - in the main component carbon - allows it to be kept for hundreds to thousands of years.

Nowadays, there are only a few places of manufacturing jewelry from human hair. Mora, Sweden, is one of the most important places in the historical development of hair jewelry as jewelry made from one's own hair. In the village of Våmhus, jewelry has been made from hair for more than 200 years. This tradition developed out of the local peasant movement to make a living through the craft of making hair jewelry. It was not uncommon for a large number of women to leave their rural homes for up to six months to offer their artistic skills in cities. In addition to traditional jewelry, we have survived to this day a particularly large number of pictures whose motifs were made from human hair. These so-called hair pictures served as a reminder of a living or deceased person, or a particularly important event, such as a wedding or a baptism. Jewelry from own hair plays in today's society a much less important role and meets us only sporadically. Therefore, it is not surprising that the individual memory in the form of head hair, lost in the much simpler, but less romantic technique of photography.