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Benares House Gallery
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Title: Brooch
Identifier: 2005.1.1
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1882
Image Creator: Museums of Mississuaga
Creation Date: 2005
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: An oval hair brooch surrounded with paste stones that look similar to diamonds. The hair is brown and is arranged in a circular fashion. The hair is covered by a bevelled oval of glass. The back of the brooch is curved.

History: This brooch belonged to Matilda Lindsay (c.1802-1887), Captain James Harrisís sister who lived in Perth in Scotland. Matilda Lindsay was a consistent correspondent with her brother and sent many care packages to Captain Harris and his family. In a list of jewellery she sent to Canada c. 1882, Matilda lists a hair locket with stones that look like diamonds surrounding it. The hair inside belonged to Margaret Patton (c.1800- 1879), Matilda and Captain Harrisís sister.
Hair jewellery's popularity began in the 17th century with the custom of distributing mourning rings with a lock of the deceasedís hair. The trend grew and increased in variety in the 18th and 19th centuries. Queen Victoria is credited with the English fascination with hair jewellery as she often wore and gave hair jewellery throughout her life. By the mid-19th century hair was no longer only used under glass in lockets or rings but made into entire pieces of jewellery. Hair was woven into intricate designs and pieces including bracelets, watch chains, earrings, etc. Hair jewellery was popular in France, England and the United States.
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