Here is an early Victorian woven hair vest chain with gilt fittings with engraving, swivel and snake-shaped hook for attachment. Woven hair was a most popular medium for such chains and could have been created as a sentimental gift to a suitor or as a memorial item for a lost loved one. This particular chain has the interest of the snake-form hook rather than a T-bar or ring and this hook would have been placed around a button, through a buttonhole or over a belt (see CDV currently also on this site). The use of a snake was very symbolic and in this example may have been as a symbol of eternity. Snake jewelry was quite popular in the 19th century and this piece combines this sentiment along with the sentimental nature of a piece created out of hair. This piece also has a small ring on the central metal fitting which could have been used for the addition of a locket or a small framed miniature. There is some wear to the hair but in general this is an unusual and interesting example of this style of vest chain of the Victorian era and it could have been worn by either a man or a woman. Please note that any other items of jewelry and the gown included in the images are not included. Total length 16 ins. (40.5cm). This item appears in my book, “How the Watch was Worn, A Fashion for 500 Years” on page 143.
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