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Clasp
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Title: Clasp
Identifier: 2007.2.36
Donor: Barbara Sayers Larson
Item Date: 1850-1882
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A round base metal and 9K gold three-stranded clasp with a glass covering human hair surrounded by pearls. The clasp has three holes on each side. There is a slightly curved glass-covered base metal bezel on top with blond hair curled inside. The hair is surrounded by 18 demi-pearls, measuring 2.1 to 2.2 mm each, and the outside edge has a foliated and flower pattern.

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.

This item may have 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 number of hair jewellery that she sent including a bracelet of her hair for each of her nieces.
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