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Photographic Technologies

Learn more about the photographic techniques available in the mid-19th century


Hair bracelet with photograph


Woven hair bracelet with photographic portrait | 8.2 x 7.5 x 3.8 cm (whole object) | RCIN 52516

During the nineteenth century, a fashion developed to construct jewellery from human hair. Hair was plaited and weaved to produce intricate designs for bracelets, brooches and rings. Queen Victoria particularly admired hair jewellery, giving a royal warrant to Antony Forrer (d.1889) as 'Artist in Hair Jewellery to Her Majesty'. 

Whilst hair jewellery was largely used to mourn the deceased, this bracelet appears to celebratory. The bracelet features a hand-coloured portrait of the crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, later Frederich III (1831-88) and Empress of Germany, taken at Windsor after the couple's wedding. It is therefore likely the bracelet marks the young couple's recent marriage.