Welcome back hair-raisers and historians!
Part of my mission as an ambassador of this art form is to educate the modern world on the history of these dying, delicate techniques, and where better to start than the beginning?
Hair jewelry is known to be the oldest form of hair art. To date, the oldest trackable literature referencing hair jewelry is a Swedish book of proverbs from 1592. The English translation to the proverb states that “bracelets and rings of hair multiplies love”. For this reason, gifts of jewelry containing a lock of hair became a traditional romantic gesture.
The idea of hair being used as a token of affection was not isolated to Sweden, for around the same time, similar pieces of jewelry were found in places such as Denmark and England. Most notably, a bracelet was retrieved from Rosenborg Castle in Denmark containing a braided lock of hair. The bracelet is quite lavish and believed to have been a gift from King Christian IV to his wife, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg. This would date this particular piece of jewelry anywhere from 1597 (the year of their marriage) to 1612 (the year of the Queen’s death).
So, to any of you who have heard a lock of hair being alluded to as a romantic gesture, just understand that this is a concept that is over 400 years old! This history is quite astonishing, romantic, and impassably beautiful. Oh, what it must have been like many years ago to receive a lock of hair from your lover- increasing affection as per the proverb and keeping forever close to you a piece of the one you love.