Comfort and Art Help the Bereaved

February 11, 2010
Ever cut a teeny photo and mount it inside a locket that you inherited from a grandmother or received as a gift on a special occasion?  Lockets have been used for centuries to transport or conceal many things, but one of the most frequent uses was to house ashes, hair or a painted picture of a loved one.  Lockets are but one of many objects worn in remembrance.  Jet, a black, coal-like substance formed from sunken driftwood, has been used to make mourning objects for thousands of years.  As it is very carvable material, jet was turned into brooches, lockets, and other jewelry in Victorian England and elsewhere.  The Museum of Mourning Art in Arlington National Cemetery is a museum dedicated to the study of beliefs and rituals that surround the arts of dying and grieving.

Hair work jewelry was also highly popular in Victorian times, and was, in fact, widely popular for over one hundred years.  This jewelry was designed not only as mourning jewelry, but also as love tokens. Through the art of hair working, loved ones’ hair was incorporated into earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, and various other objects.  While making mourning objects out of hair might seem odd or even morbid in modern times, during that era death was an accepted part of life, largely because of the Civil War.  Also, human hair was used because it has properties that allow it to last for hundreds of years.

With the Universal Grieving Symbol pin, Luna’s Light brings a 21st century take to thousands of years of mourning jewelry tradition, while also creating a recognizable symbol that invites and encourages support and gentleness during a difficult time.