Fragments of Faith: From Religious Relics to Victorian Hair Jewelery

Historian and Morbid Anatomy Museum Instructor Karen Bachman discusses the origins of the strange and romantic art of Victorian hair work.

Art historian and master jeweler Karen Bachman discusses the history of Victorian hair work for the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

With it’s origins in the religious relics and reliquaries of dead saints, the art of memorial hair work in the 18th and 19th centuries became a popular way to honor and remember loved ones. Locks of hair from the deceased was woven into jewelry, chains and intricate works of art.

Victorian hair work

2 replies
  1. Avatar
    Devi Welch says:

    Being catholic myself it sounds like it may have been sold by one of the many vendors that hang around the Vatican selling supposed relics with supposed letters of authenticity.Always fake&they love tourists especially American tourists.Think about it a true piece of the cross would be priceless&would be kept in the Vatican vaults.I think your aunt was more than likely preyed upon by this vulture!But hey its certainly a nice conversation piece .I hope he didn’t take too much of her money.And I’m sure she had a wonderful time there.;-)

  2. Avatar
    Marguerite Farrell says:

    I have a religious relic that I would like to know more about. It was given to me by my mom who was raised in a very Catholic family. Her cousin apparently took a trip to the Vatican and brought my mom back this glass dome, many years ago. Inside it is a fake gold cross, with a small gold locket hanging. Inside the locket is a tiny splinter, a piece of Jesus cross(supposedly). It has a certificate of authenticity with it, written in Latin, and signed by a bishop. I have tried to do some research on this, but don’t really know where to start. Anyone have any ideas? If the church actually had such a thing, and believed it to be real, why in the heck would they sell it??


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