Friday, February 6, 2009

Close to My Heart

Alison Nowlin Ward's RELIC collection offers a modern update on mourning jewelry. Her custom pieces, pictured here, can hold a lock of hair, the remnants of a love letter, or even the ashes of a loved one.

The Victorians' use of hair in mourning jewelry was an amazing alchemy, the transformation of hair's wild, organic nature into a stylized, lasting jewelry. It's like a metaphor for the hopes of an everlasting life after death, from the ephemeral to the eternal. Yet I have to be honest - some of the Victorian hair mourning jewelry was kind of creepy.

Or so stylized it seems the very personal nature of the hair was lost, as in this plaited hair brooch from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

I love Alison Nowlin Ward's work because the hair is not overworked or transformed into something else. Her STORYVILLE collection is a series of lockets that can hide away a secret sentimental treasure.

These lovely pieces of jewelry can be ordered at

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