Since Victorian times, people have woven hair into jewelry as a way to remember their loved ones — horse hair jewelry was used as tokens of affection and as a way to remember those who passed away, although that was not it’s primary purpose
From the 1600s until the late 1800s horse hair jewelry was very popular — as bracelets, under glass, or used as a background for initials other personal symbols. Queen Victoria gave pieces of jewelry made from her hair as gifts, many of these pieces were given to her children and grandchildren. Napoleon wore his watch on a chain made from the hair of his wife, Empress, Marie Louise.
During the time before photographs, hair was valued for sentimental reasons — people would keep scrapbooks of their friends’ hair, usually accompanied by poetry.
While hardly anyone wears contemporary human hair jewelry, among equestrians, horse hair jewelry is still popular. It ranges from the simple to the extremely elaborate and it is a great way to celebrate your affection for your current horse or feel close to a horse that has crossed the rainbow bridge.
Many horse hair jewelry designers use the same intricate braiding patterns that were made popular by Victorian jewelers.
I have hair from Kroni’s tail that my husband was able to get from Tufts after he died. I have not yet been able to send it off to be made into jewelry, but I’m getting close to being ready.
How to collect the hair
To collect hair from your horse for a bracelet, necklace or key chain, you want to take hair from their tail.
You want to cut only the longer hairs, so start at the bottom of the tail and separate them from the short hairs.
- Cut 2- bunches of hair from different places that are close to the tailbone.
- The final bundle should be slightly thicker than the diameter of a pencil. For a standard sized bracelet the length needs to be 15-18 inches long. For a necklace the length needs to be about twice the length of the finished necklace. For the key chain, 10 inches is needed.
- Secure the hair with a rubber band — don’t use tape or string and don’t braid it.
- Some jewelry designers prefer to have the hair pre-washed. If you wash it yourself, secure the hair with a rubber band and wash the hair with shampoo. Do not use conditioner, show sheen or any other products on the hair. Blot the hair and then hang it to dry or blow dry it.