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WDEL's Delaware Stories
with Mellany Armstrong

Victorian Hair Jewelry

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A New Castle man collects jewelry that may make you go ewwww, then aaaaah.

In his search for accessories for his Civil War re-enactor wardrobe, Thomas Tear came across a watch chain.

"It was this wonderful material, just beautifully woven, and I could not figure out what it was, and I found out that it was hair jewelry, and I'm like, 'OK, they make jewelry out of hair," Tear said.

Tear speaks to groups about his collection of Victorian hair jewelry.

"Earrings, bracelets, pins, brooches, all sorts of things," Tear said.

He insists it is not all 'mourning jewelry,' made to remember a dead relative.

"Most of it is sentimental, a love token, or commemorative. And it's been around forever, it was very popular in the 16, 1700s," Tear said.

"Watch chains were a wonderful thing because it was someone's way of, in a time when men did not necessarily wear a wedding band, if you had a hair chain, it was very possible that that man was taken," he said.

And Tear loves the romance of the pieces.

"How wonderful to wear your husband's hair next to your cheek all day, you can just sort of feel his touch as you go about your daily chores," he said.

Be sure to check out Thomas William Tear's book, Memoirs of a Confederate Gentleman, available at book stores and at grandoakplantation.com

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