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  • Place of origin:

    Europe (Western, made)

  • Date:

    1830-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Plaited human hair, with a gold clasp set with a shell cameo

  • Credit Line:

    Cory Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 81, shelf D6, box 10

The Victorians continued the custom of using hair jewellery in gifts of love and remembrance. Queen Victoria both wore and gave jewellery set with hair. Designs like this bracelet in the Neo-classical style were carefully thought out and skilfully executed.

Hair was fashionable for use in jewellery for much of the 19th century. Professional hairworkers wove it, as did amateurs at home. There were even books on hairweaving. Cameos were particularly popular in the early 1800s. Jewellery makers used conch shells from as far afield as Madagascar and Jamaica. They were easier to carve and cheaper than hardstone cameos.

Physical description

A bracelet band made from plaited and twisted human hair. The gold clasp is set with a shell cameo.The gold decorated with graniti (small applied pellets) and cannetille (wire spiral). It possibly represents Alexander the Great, his wife Roxana and a genius, or protecting deity, with a torch.

Place of Origin

Europe (Western, made)


1830-50 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Plaited human hair, with a gold clasp set with a shell cameo


Length: 20.3 cm, Height: 5.2 cm, Diameter: 1.9 cm, Height: 4.5 cm cameo, Width: 4 cm cameo

Descriptive line

Bracelet band made from plaited human hair, with a shell cameo perhaps of Alexander the Great and his wife Roxana, Western Europe, 1830-50


Human hair; Gold; Shell

Subjects depicted

Genius; Empresses; Emperors; Rulers; Torches (lighting devices); Spears; Deities; Attic helmets; Profiles; Cameos


Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project


Metalwork Collection

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